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‘TUF 14’ vet Louis Gaudinot aiming for UFC contract, waiting for flyweight division

Last Updated on December 3, 2011.

by Steven Marrocco on Dec 03, 2011 – MMAJUNKIE.COM

Like many fighters who appear on “The Ultimate Fighter,” Louis Gaudinot is not fighting at his natural weight class.

Although his turn on show’s 14th season came as a bantamweight, he’s actually a top-10 ranked fighter at 10 pounds lighter at flyweight.

So when Gaudinot (5-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC) meets fellow “TUF” contestant Johnny Bedford (17-9-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC) at The Ultimate Fighter 14 Finale, he’s hoping a win not only gets him a UFC contract but holds his place in line if the promotion opens the 125-pound division.

“It’s just a waiting game, waiting for the UFC to open it up,” Gaudinot today told MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio).

The Ultimate Fighter 14 Finale takes place Saturday at The Pearl at the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas. The night’s main card, including the tourney finals and a headliner between coaches Michael Bisping and Jason “Mayhem” Miller, airs on Spike TV. Gaudinot also got a coveted TV spot.

The idea of an eighth division in the UFC has been long spoken of but never put into practice. The reasons for that are not totally clear, though a bevy of domestic and international talent is ready and willing. Like Gaudinot, many of the top fighters in the flyweight class have been fighting heavier guys with mixed success. For now, it looks as though that trend will continue until the industry-leader decides to promote the division.

Gaudinot’s dyed-green hair immediately drew attention on the show, which was the first season to feature contestants in the bantamweight and featherweight divisions, though his run in the tournament was short-lived. While he survived the elimination round, he was eliminated in the quarterfinals by the vastly more experienced Dustin Neace, who at 5-foot-9, is 6 inches taller and walks around at 149 pounds, according to his professional resume.

On Saturday, Gaudinot is likely to meet another heavier opponent. Bedford, who was knocked unconsioucs in the semifinals by John Dodson, this week tweeted that he had 18 pounds to cut to make the minimum weight requirement of 136 pounds for the bantamweight division. Gaudinot could be at an disadvantage when it comes to the power derived from more physical mass. But his size could also help him, especially if the fight goes into deep waters.

“I’ll keep the Frankie Edgar approach where you don’t have to cut too much weight,” Gaudinot said. “It will definitely help your cardio in the later rounds. He’s going to have a rough cut, and if it gets into the second or third round, that affects you.

“When you’re cutting 20 pounds, and you only weigh 135 pounds, you can’t replenish your body in 24 hours. So if I can stay around 140 and walk around with that and only cut a little bit of weight, that’s the plan I’ll take.”

Edgar, of course, has become a poster boy for the role of giant killer, outwrestling and beating opponents far bigger than he in the offseason. Gaudinot would obviously like to fight where he’s best suited, and especially because his ranking could put him higher on the ladder if the flyweight division were to open up. You could say he has more leeway than a fighter who’s too heavy to move to a lighter weight class. Even if he loses on Saturday, he could drop weight and get a UFC contract at 125 pounds.

“But that’s not the road I want to take,” Gaudinot said. “I’m her. I want to win and get a regular fight contract, a multi-fight deal. And that’s what’s on the line come Saturday.”

If his opponent’s weight cut was as tough as it might have seemed, he may already have a leg up.