50 bout veteran Guillard now “1-0”
Story & photos by Anthony Springer, Jr.
With more than fifty fights to his name, Melvin Guillard announced to the world that none of his previous accomplishments matter anymore.
At 41-9-3, 1NC, “The Young Assassin” says he’s now 1-0 after his UFC 109 preliminary card victory over Ronnys Torres.
There was indeed something different about the 26-year-old veteran. In fact, there’s been something different about Guillard since he reemerged in the Octagon in 2009. After earning a knockout victory over Dennis Siver at UFC 86 in 2008, Guillard seemed on the verge of stardom in the lightweight division.
And then he disappeared.
A run in with the law derailed the momentum Guillard built and threatened to end his UFC career. Guillard would return to the Octagon nearly one year later, topping Gleison Tibau in a razor thin split decision at The Ultimate Fighter: Team US vs. Team UK finale. Despite dropping a main event bout to Nate Diaz last September, fans and critics began to realize that the hiatus allowed Guillard to fix one gaping hole in his style: his lack of a ground game.
Guillard credits his improving skills on the canvas to one fellow 155’er in particular.
“I’m working with the best guy in the world, I’m talking about Joe Stevenson,” Guillard told Fight News.
The Louisiana native speaks with both admiration for his new training partner and a youthful enthusiasm for the next chapter of his career.
“[Stevenson] is like a brother to me,” he added. “I’m going to really put as much effort into my jiu-jitsu as my judo and my standup so when it comes time to fight a guy like BJ [Penn], I’ll be ready for it.”
In addition to working with Stevenson, Guillard found a new training home in Albuquerque, New Mexico with famed MMA coach Greg Jackson where Guillard says he’s learned to be a thinking man’s fighter.
“They teach me to be patient and look for the opening,” he said of Jackson’s camp.
The bout with Torres was the quintessential striker vs. grappler battle. While the edge on the feet undoubtedly went to Guillard, he was no longer out of his element when Torres took him to the Octagon canvas.
“With fighting you have to be methodical, you’ve got to out think the other guy,” Guillard explained. “He had me down a few times, but he didn’t hurt me. I never felt in danger of a submission. When I saw the opening I got up.”
At 1-0 in the next chapter of his career, a reenergized and refocused Guillard is out to prove that he’s the real deal to his new team, his fans, and the rest of the 155-pound division.
“It’s an honor to be on [Greg Jackson’s] team and for him to accept me in his family. I want to prove to the world that going to Coach Greg changed a lot for me.”
Based on his last performance, Guillard is on his way to doing just that.