Being No. 1 is all that matters to Melvin Guillard, and after 15 years of being in the game, he believes people better recognize.
Guillard meets WEC veteran Shane Roller on Saturday at UFC 132 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. Guillard is motivated for the challenge the former Oklahoma State wrestler brings to the fight, but leading up to the match the TUF 2 participant mentioned that he thought he would be fighting somebody a little more recognizable after his previous fight.
Guillard recently defeated Evan Dunham with a flying-knee knockout in the first round, and he is riding a four-fight winning streak, not to mention winning seven of his last eight. This made it puzzling why Guillard is not fighting somebody ranked a little higher in the UFC lightweight division, than Roller. Nonetheless, Guillard vows to continue to prove his worth through hard work and terrific performances, and ignore the rankings, because second place is still a loser in his eyes.
“Rankings are a number, and that’s it,” Guillard told MMADieHards.com. “I just have to keep fighting hard and making statements. They speak for themselves. The only ranking that really matters is being No. 1. Unless you’re No. 1, all the other numbers don’t even matter, because being the No. 1 contender is just like being the first-place loser. When you run track the silver medal is like the first-place loser, so unless you got the gold around your waist, it really doesn’t matter.”
Guillard is not taking anything away from Roller, and says it’s a mistake to think he is taking this fight lightly.
Guillard trains with the famed Greg Jackson’s MMA team in Albuquerque, and the place comes equipped with great fighters, trainers, and arguably the best coach in MMA. The gym provides Guillard with an opportunity to train alongside some of the best fighters the world has to offer without bringing in guests or visiting a multitude of gyms. Even though Guillard stayed with the same gym he has been using for the last few years, the former Division I wrestler decided to step it up a notch during this camp.
“Training went great,” Guillard said. “I did a lot of CrossFit, and strength and conditioning. I took my training to another level with this camp. I spent eight weeks at Jackson’s for my camp. Jon Chaimberg came in, he works with George (St-Pierre), he came in and worked with me a bit. But other than that, there was nobody different. I have a great group of guys here, so I don’t have to bring people in. We have the wrestlers, we have the strikers, we have the ground guys, we have everything. The one thing about our gym is that we’re not one dimensional, we have everything you need.”
Guillard’s new level of training, coupled with his usual training partners, makes for a fierce competitor come fight night. His confidence is on a level that makes him believe, even with Roller’s strong wrestling background, the three-time All-America will have to fight Guillard’s fight.
“The Young Assassin” thinks domination is inevitable, and longevity plays a role into that. Plus, he believes he is simply better in every area.
“I can dominate him all across the board,” Guillard said. “I’m going to make it my fight, I don’t fight other people’s fights, I fight my fight. I’ll bring the fight to him, and then he’ll have to adjust. He’s a strong wrestler, but like I tell everyone else, it’s not a wrestling match. I have a wrestling background just like him; I’m not as decorated in it because I chose to do MMA at the time I was in college. I’ve been around this sport for 15 years, and guys are going to start respecting that.
“He’s a strong wrestler, but I don’t see him being faster than me on the feet. I see him having trouble with the takedowns, I even see him having trouble trying to hold me down. The things he’s strong at are the things I’m great at, so I’m not worried about anything. I’m going in confident, and just stay calm and just pull the trigger.”
During training camp for Guillard’s UFC 132 bout he spent time producing a video blog with the UFC. It highlighted the lightweight’s life outside of the Octagon, with a glimpse of him training. He admitted that it was a lot of fun to do. Guillard is happy with the final product, which came out on UFC.com this week.
“I did a four-day video blog for the UFC, blogging my life outside of fighting,” Guillard said. ”I got a little bit of training in there, because I didn’t want to completely do the training, but I got me and my wife and the dogs just hanging out. I went golfing with my chiropractic doctor, and just enjoy life and relaxing.”
If Guillard prevails victorious over Roller, his options of next opponent are limited to top tier competitors with big names. Those are the fights that will help “The Young Assassin” achieve his goal of the No. 1 spot. Guillard is not looking past Roller, but his eye is on the prize, and the WEC veteran is in the way, but not for long.
“It’ll be a first-round knockout,” Gullard predicted. “And even if it isn’t, my hand will still be getting raised at the end of the day.”