Melvin Guillard Says “Life Changing Fight” With Friend Donald Cerrone “Is Just Business”
By Kelsey Mowatt
Barring an injury and the need for a last minute replacement, it’s not often these days that you’ll see established UFC competitors fighting twice in one month. As a result, when the promotion announced that Melvin Guillard would fight Donald Cerrone less than five weeks removed from his decision win over Fabricio Camoes, it took some folks by surprise.
Adding to the intriguing announcement, was the fact that Cerrone had taken to Twitter not long before, to plead for someone to “step up” and face him at the August 11th card in Denver. According to Guillard, answering the challenge had nothing to do with settling a score or his employer’s plea, but rather, just an eagerness to participate in a compelling fight.
“It was kind of weird because Dana (White) came to me at the Fighter Summit , and asked me how I felt, how my hands were and I was like “nah, I’m ready to fight tomorrow if I can’, and still, Dana didn’t say anything,” Guillard told Full Contact Fighter. “Nothing was said about fighting Cowboy. It happened when I got home …I was golfing on the Thursday morning and I was on the first tee box and Glen (Robinson) called me and said he needed me to come into the office.”
Guillard relayed to Robinson that he would come in as soon as he was done golfing, but the suspense as to why his manager needed to see him got the best of the lightweight.
“I cut off at nine holes and went up to the office and he had the contract sitting on the table; I didn’t know it was to fight Cowboy,” Guillard said. “I turned it to the last page and he said ‘do you want to fight Cowboy?’ I looked at the date and I was like ‘oh man, that’s like less than a month,’ but I said ‘alright cool, let’s do it.”
“As soon as I signed it Cowboy called,” Guillard furthered. “He said ‘look man, let’s go out there and get paid; put on a good fight,’ and I said ‘alright, let’s do it.’..I don’t know how it happened for him but that’s how it happened for me.”
Guillard was receiving a phone call from the man he will try to knock out at UFC 150, because the two share a close friendship which stems from their days as training partners under Greg Jackson. The issue of friends fighting one another has long been a contentious one in MMA, however, Guillard relays that in this case, it’s no problem at all.
“Nah man, me and Cowboy are the same age, we’re a year apart…I was actually a lot closer with Cowboy then I was with a lot of the other guys on the team,” said Guillard, who now trains with the renowned Blackzilians team in Florida. “We beat each other up all the time; we definitely had some memorable sparring sessions, and he’s a tough guy, but we both have the understanding that this is just business. That’s just a sign of maturity. We’ve been at a long time in this game and we understand it as veterans.”
In addition, not only is it a promising fight due to each man’s talents and aggressive styles, but what could be riding on the outcome. After transitioning over from the WEC last year, Cerrone (18-4) quickly worked his way into title contention by winning four straight fights in the Octagon, until he was defeated by Nate Diaz last December. Due to a unanimous decision win over Jeremy Stephens in May, Cerrone could still be a big win or two away from a title shot.
Guillard (30-10) also appeared to headed towards a title shot last year, as a result of a five fight win streak that included brutal stoppage victories over Evan Dunham and Shane Roller. Back-to-back submission losses to Joe Lauzon and Jim Miller set the feared striker back, but Guillard has rebounded with his aforementioned win over Camoes.
“We both have an opportunity to go out there, fight hard, put on a great show and make a lot of money,” said Guillard. “This is a life changing fight for me. I’m just honored to be fighting a guy with such class.”
“I think at this point in the lightweight division it’s about picking the right strategy, picking the right fights,” Guillard added.”If you pick the right person to fight, you can possibly catapult yourself right into a title fight…Speaking right now, I think Nate (Diaz) might be next in line after the rematch, but I think me or Donald could possibly be in a position for a title shot in one or two fights. It’s definitely a fight that makes sense.”