For someone that sports bright green hair to the Octagon, it might be hard to envision flyweight Louis Gaudinot being the forgotten man at 125 pounds. However, after spending nearly 500 days on the shelf due to injury, the New Jersey fighter is looking to reintroduce himself to the world at UFC 164 on Aug. 31.

Gaudinot was poised to make a serious splash in the UFC’s lightest division after defeating Brazilian John Lineker at UFC on Fox 3 in May of last year. While Gaudinot’s “Fight of the Night” performance may have faded from memory for some fight fans, it’s still fresh on the mind of the soon-to-be 29-year-old.

“It was the biggest stage I’d ever fought on, so it was definitely the most satisfying win of my career,” he recalled in an exclusive interview with The MMA Corner. “It was in my home state. A lot of my family members, training partners and students were there.”

Gaudinot (L) locks up a guillotine choke (Esther Lin/MMA Fighting)

At the time of the victory, Gaudinot’s second-round guillotine finish may not have put the Tiger Schulmann product in title talk, but the sequence of events that ensued—despite the injury layoff—has actually strengthened the win over Lineker.

“I’m starting to realize just how good Lineker is,” explained Gaudinot. “He’s won three in a row and doing good for himself. The more that he wins, the better that I look, since I beat him.”

While Gaudinot’s assessment makes sense on paper, The Ultimate Fighter alum’s absence from competition has allowed the surging Lineker to leapfrog him in the UFC rankings. Undeterred, Gaudinot remains confident in his abilities.

“Beating Lineker showed me that I belong in the UFC, and I think I belong in the top five,” he declared. “I’m one of the best in the world at 125.”

On the verge of returning to the cage, “Goodnight” is ready to put the last 15 months in the past.

“It was frustrating, especially with Lineker doing so well and moving up the rankings while I’m sitting on the sidelines,” said Gaudinot. “The UFC set me up with two fights; one I got the contract and didn’t even get the chance to sign it because I got hurt. The other one I signed the contract and then got hurt.

“But I’m healthy now.”

Most fighters are quick to dispel any concerns of ring rust after an extended absence due to injury, and Gaudinot is no different. However, as he prepares for his first experience as part of a pay-per-view event—albeit on the undercard—Gaudinot is relishing the opportunity.

“I’ve been training hard and I feel like my timing is good,” he stated. “I’m sure being out there on the big stage is going to be a little nerve-racking at first, but once I get in the cage I’ll settle down and be fine. I kind of like that pressure on me.”

Gaudinot (R) connects with a right hand (Esther Lin/MMA Fighting)

Standing in the way of Gaudinot’s triumphant return to the Octagon will be fellow top-10 fighter Tim Elliott. Much like Gaudinot, Elliott quickly became a fan favorite with a reckless attack and a “Fight of the Night” bonus of his own in his last outing.

“He’s just unpredictable,” declared Gaudinot of his opponent. “I watched his fight with [John] Dodson and he threw some crazy stuff. He’s got some funky footwork and head movement, plus his takedowns are good. I have to find his timing and his rhythm, but that’s what I’ve been training for.”

So does Gaudinot expect another bonus check when things are all said and done come Saturday night?

“I always go balls to the wall, and I want to put on a good show for the fans,” he proclaimed. “I know Elliott feels the same way.

“I want to get some interest for the flyweights so they give us better spots on the card and things like that. We have a good chance to steal the show and claim ‘Fight of the Night.’”

A win over Elliott could remind not only the fans about Gaudinot’s place in the flyweight division, but also the UFC brass. But don’t expect the New Jersey fighter to be begging for a title shot; he’d rather let his actions do the talking for him.

“I leave all that up to the UFC,” he asserted. “There’s a couple of guys up there close to title shots. Lineker has three wins in a row. If Benavidez wins his next fight, he’ll have three wins in a row over top-ranked guys. It’s the UFC’s call on whether they want to do a Benavidez rematch or get some new blood.

“I have to go out on Saturday and perform well and show them that my name should be considered in the title mix.”

Louis would like to thank his team at Tiger Schulmann, especially his main training partners: Jimmie, Nick and Julio. He would also like to thank his sponsors: Fear the Fighter and Muscle Pharm. Follow Gaudinot on Twitter: @LouGaudinotUFC

Top Photo: Louis Gaudinot (Esther Lin/MMA Fighting)

About The Author

The MMA Corner Staff

Your home for all things MMA. News, Interviews, Event Coverage, Editorials. If it is MMA related, you will find it on The MMA Corner.