Melvin Guillard's career with the Ultimate Fighting Championship began in November of 2005, and, since that date, "The Young Assassin" has competed in 12 fights in the promotion, putting together a respectable 8-4 record.
Throughout those 12 bouts, however, Guillard's style seems to have changed. The man who was once a reckless brawler appears to have taken on the role of a smarter fighter, which could possibly be attributed to his decision to join Greg Jackson after a fellow UFC fighter invited him to visit.
"(Joe Stevenson) invited me up," Guillard told HeavyMMA on the latest Podcast. "I got to talk to Coach Greg (Jackson), and Coach Greg said, yeah, I could come try it out. Ended up coming up here and trying it out and I loved it. I’ve been here ever since."
Prior to joining Jackson, Guillard was known as an exciting brawler with reckless abandon. The lightweight would continuously battle against his opponent to the very end, attempting to finish his opponent at all costs. But things have changed.
Since joining Jackson's camp, Guillard has become what would appear as a different fighter. While he is still as dangerous as he ever was, there seems to be a different factor in his game that allows him to succeed as well. This factor has been displayed in his bouts against slugger Jeremy Stephens, wrestler Waylon Lowe, and submission ace Ronnys Torres, where the ferocious lightweight has taken on a more secure gameplan during his fights.
However, like many fighters who train under Jackson, he has come under fire for taking on a boring style of fighting, much to the dismay of UFC President Dana White, among others.
While his new outlook has certainly gained him several wins, it still draws criticism. This criticism was not more apparent than after his three round bout against the aforementioned Stephens at UFC 119, which disappointed the Indiana crowd back in September of 2009. But Guillard says that his safe gameplan was a key to victory and that not all of Jackson's fighters, including himself, simply fight for a decision win.
"I can’t say that’s everybody’s style because there’s a ton of guys in our camp that are finishers," Guillard said. "I’m one of them. They’re always gonna have the critics for everything. So, at the end of the day, it really doesn’t matter. Everybody’s entitled to their own opinion. As long as we get the ‘W’, that’s something Coach Greg preaches to us in the gym; As long as we get the ‘W’, that’s all that matters. (We need to) just keep getting our hands raised and keep getting those bonus checks."
Guillard may appear to be a completely different fighter since his days before Jackson, and he has certainly been scolded for it. The man who once was a reckless fighter seems to have become a much more intelligent mixed martial artist.
But the lightweight believes his style has not changed since joining Jackson's squad. However, he does think that he has become a smarter fighter because of the change and cites the Stephens bout as a perfect example.
"He changed me to a smarter fighter if anything," said Guillard. "The only thing I do different now, I go in there and I pick my shots. The only reason you guys witnessed the Jeremy Stephens fight the way you did is because I had to have respect for Jeremy’s punching power."
"Look at what happened to Marcus Davis. He was winning two rounds and then he went in there and tried to slug it out with a knockout artist. He ended up getting knocked out. I caught a lot of criticism (for my fight with Stephens), but, at the end of the day, that was a point well taken. Seeing Marcus Davis get knocked out the way he did, it said a whole lot."
Guillard has certainly managed to change his frantic style into a much more secure one. When he faces Evan Dunham in the main event of "UFC Fight Night: Fight For The Troops II", "The Young Assassin" has another opportunity to continue his run through the division under the tutelage of the famous MMA coach Greg Jackson.
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