UFC lightweight contender Melvin Guillard appears to have finally put it all together. The man once universally dubbed to be among the most naturally talented athletes in the UFC, Guillard has put together a string of impressive victories and is 7-1 since being ousted from the UFC back in 2007 after a loss to arch nemesis Rich Clementi.
Guillard himself credits a change in camps for the recent upsurge and his first foray into title contention.
"It kinda speaks for itself," Guillard said. "I'm 4-0 since coming over to Jackson's camp. I'll never be one of those guys who goes in there and tries to submit guys, that's just not my game. My game is knocking guys out, finishing guys, giving the crowed what they want to see and giving the UFC what they want as well. Those are the fights that Dana and them want to see. After knocking out Evan Dunham, I sent a big statement in the 155-pound division. I think right now that's what important. Me working from my strengths and giving people what they want to see."
Guillard has heard the criticism's for years. The explosive striker has "no ground game." He needs to "work on his takedown defense." Now, after re-dedicating himself over the past few years, the vaunted knockout artist counts wrestling and listening to his corner as his biggest assets.
"Nine times out of ten, when I'm on my back I'm not there for too long," Guillard said. "The best part of my game is my wrestling ability and my judo ability and with those two combined, it's a lot easier to keep guys from taking me down and get back to my feet. It was well executed in the Evan Dunham fight, it was well executed against Waylon Lowe, Jeremy Stephens all those guys. The main thing is that I'm listening to my coaching staff, I'm following the orders that they give me inside the cage and I'm executing and I'm seeing more openings because I'm listening to my corner."
The new and improved Melvin Guillard can be traced back to his loss to personal rival Rich Clementi. The two former training partners squared at the end of 2007 after getting into a street fight earlier that year.
"He won inside the ring, I won outside the ring," Guillard recounted. "We actually got into a street fight and I kinda got the best of him there. And then shortly after that we ended up fighting in the UFC and that's just a result of when you fight angry and you hate someone.
"I still don't like the guy. I probably never will. Do I care for him, no. If he got hit by a bus would I care, no. I really wouldn't care.
Guillard states that the two were friends before some unsavory words were exchanged resulting in a confrontation backstage at a local event in Louisiana.
"He's one of those guys... when I did care for the guy, he's a snake," Guillard stated. "He stabbed me in the back and because my career was taking off he wanted to sabotage me. He'll undercut you. I think that's part of the reason he's not in the UFC anymore. As far as I know, he's never allowed in the UFC again, so that tells you the type of person he his.
"It happened maybe a month or two before we were scheduled to fight each other. We were at my coaches renaissance fight in...