Guida’s more than some gym dandy

By John Silver

There never has been a better MMA fighter to open a gym than Clay Guida.

Known for his never-ending energy, incredible conditioning and high intensity, the Johnsburg native has endeared himself to legions of fans. On Saturday, they’ll have a chance to meet the UFC lightweight at his new gym, MMA Stop Fitness Clay Guida, 16101 Weber Road, Crest Hill. The grand-opening celebration begins at 10 a.m. and lasts until 6.

‘‘It’s not a fight gym or a mixed-martial-arts gym. It’s more of a family fitness center — more or less a one-stop shop,’’ Guida said. ‘‘It’s a state-of-the-art facility. It’s very open and welcoming. We’re targeting families with kids who are looking to lead a healthy lifestyle.’’

Co-owned by Guida, his manager, John Fosco, and partner Rick Val, the gym will have a variety of classes for men, women and children and a retail outlet to buy MMA and workout gear.

Along with Guida, UFC light heavyweight Thiago Silva will be on hand starting at 1 p.m. Saturday to meet fans and sign autographs. Silva’s appearance will be the first of many for the gym.

‘‘We’ve gotten a lot support locally and from friends of mine in the fight industry,’’ Guida said. ‘‘A lot of fighters — Jon Jones, Anderson Silva, Forrest Griffin, Urijah Faber — have all agreed to come out in the coming months.’’

Guida said he’ll pop in at least once a month to help out and teach classes.


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