EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – When it was mentioned to Louis Gaudinot that he has an opportunity to not only become a champion, but to be remembered in MMA annals as the pioneer of the flyweight division, he took one of his few deep breaths of the evening.
Fresh off his second-round submission of John Lineker – and $66,000 richer by earning Fight of the Night honors and Lineker missing weight – Gaudinot reflected over the future of the newly-minted flyweight class, and the idea of whoever captures and sustains excellence will be viewed in similar reverence of Jens Pulver and B.J. Penn.
"That’s amazing," Gaudinot told SBNation NY. "I wanna show the UFC it’s about time [they put together] the flyweights and show the fans that we belong here. Some of the fans are like, ‘Ah, I only want to see the heavyweights, these little midgets.’ But we were going at it. Who knows how things play out? Two fights down the road I could be fighting for a title. I don’t want to look too far ahead, I have less than 10 pro fights so I’ll take it slow and whatever the UFC wants to give me."
Following 15 weeks of prep time, Gaudinot arrived to New Jersey in the best shape of his life. A big part of his revamped regimen was his work with In Motion Meals, a Fairfield, N.J., based company that distributes 500,000 prepackaged healthy foods throughout the East Coast. The new diet helped keep Gaudinot’s weight down without the stress of serious weight cuts or starvation. The night before the weigh-ins, Gaudinot enjoyed a steak dinner. Throughout his training he treated himself to three meals a day.
"Easiest cut ever, Gaudinot said. "I think I woke up the day of the weigh-ins at 129. I didn’t even have to go in the sauna. I could have gone five rounds tonight."
A month before the fight Gaudinot stressed the importance of improving his cardio entering the Lineker fight, which cost him against featherweight Johnny Bedford at The Ultimate Finale (Season 14). Between rounds, Gaudinot considered telling his corner to not bother with the stool. He wanted to bounce around to get in the head of his opponent, because by the time the second and final round started the writing was on the all. While Gaudinot was at his natural weight, Lineker was lost in the forest having to travel from Brazil and cut enough pounds to compete in a new division.
The weight cut failed Lineker, opening the door for the newly-calibrated Gaudinot to move in for the kill.
"For me it’s easy, I’ve been to 125 before," Gaudinot said. "He’s never been there. Even if he made 25 it was going to affect his cardio. And lo and behold he didn’t make 25."
One can expect more changes in Gaudinot’s game to help him reach the next level in evolution, one of which may end up pretty drastic. During the first round his long, green and curly hair obstructed his vision. For superstitious reasons he won’t wear cornrows, the style he carried into the Bedford fight, so he’s considering a shorter ‘do by his next fight. But don’t sweat any Samson effect. That light green tint he added in college is going nowhere.
"No matter what, short or long, it’s going to be green!" he said. "It’s become my trademark and I’m not going to let it go."
Dana White may not be too crazy about the hair -- he teased him about cutting it and Gaudinot retorted that he sounded like his girlfriend -- but the UFC president has big plans in store for potentially one of the great flyweights.
“Louis looked great tonight, he has a great chin,” White said. “We’ll see what the next test for him.”