Melvin Guillard knows as well as anyone the ferocity with which Donald Cerrone fights. He's felt the leg-buckling power of Cerrone's kicks and the snap on Cerrone's punches.

For a long time, they were teammates and regular sparring partners at Jackson's Submission Fighting in Albuquerque, N.M.

Few know as well as Guillard how good Cerrone is. And, despite a one-sided loss to Nate Diaz in December that derailed his title aspirations, Cerrone is plenty good.

He was in the Fight of the Night five times when he was in the World Extreme Cagefighting. He's been chosen for Fight of the Night twice in the UFC, and has added a Knockout of the Night and a Submission of the Night bonus, as well.

Cerrone has won seven of his last eight fights, and has finished four of them. Yet, ask Guillard and he'll be the first to tell you that the version of Cerrone he will fight on Saturday in the co-main event of UFC 150 is far better than the one he used to spar with regularly at Jackson's gym.

If there is one guarantee on Saturday's card, it should be that the Cerrone-Guillard fight will be explosive from the beginning. To paraphrase UFC welterweight DaMarques Johnson, each man has a 50-50 chance to win but logic dictates there's a 100 percent chance of a finish.

"We haven't trained together since last October pretty much," Guillard said. "It's been almost close to a year. I know he's a great fast learner and he knows how fast I learn and pick up on things. And I don't think we're going to be the same guys we were when we were sparring partners.

"In my mind I'm still like, 'Cowboy's gotten better.' He's tougher and I think I just want to go into this fight and turn it into an old schoolyard brawl. I want to go in and fight him hard, because I know what he brings to the table. I know if you try to sleep on him, I can get the bad end of the deal. I've definitely got to bring my A-game."

[Also: Alistair Overeem responds to JDS: 'He's Afraid to Fight Me']

Guillard left Jackson's last year and is now training in Florida, but Cerrone remains part of the Jackson's fight team. While coach Greg Jackson will be in Cerrone's corner giving instructions on Saturday, he wasn't part of Cerrone's preparations.

Cerrone wanted it that way, so if he wins, it won't be perceived of as Jackson coming up with the perfect way to neutralize the mercurial Guillard.

"I just haven't been training with [Jackson] for like the last four weeks," Cerrone said. "There's nothing, no beef or anything with me and Greg … but Greg worked with Melvin a lot, and we were great teammates. And I didn't want Melvin thinking that that's all we were doing, picking him apart."

Cerrone often picked Guillard apart when they sparred. Guillard often wondered whether he had a mental block, because day after day, it seemed, Cerrone would get the best of him.

It led Guillard to one day approach coach Mike Winkeljohn, who oversaw a lot of their sparring sessions, and initiate a conversation.

[Related: Fan predicts the outcome of all UFC 150 fights]

Guillard conceded that Cerrone's kicks often felled him. But Winkeljohn correctly pointed out that sparring and fighting are distinctly different activities.

Because Guillard has come to embrace that thinking, he realizes that their sparring sessions together are just a loose sort of guide of what will happen on Saturday and not necessarily a blueprint.

"I've never rocked him in practice because in training you never try to hurt your teammate," Guillard said. "You want to be as safe as possible. We don't get paid to train. We get paid to fight. And the problem with a lot of guys is they want to go to the gym and find out who's the baddest in the gym.

"I don't care if somebody's badder than me in the gym. I'm in South Florida right now getting the crap beat out of me. It's almost like I never left Albuquerque. And I don't want to be the baddest guy in the gym. I want to be the baddest guy when the lights are on and everything's on the line."

On that, the friends agree. And in a division as crowded as the UFC lightweight division, the significance of every fight is magnified because the top 10 or 12 guys are so close. A loss would send either well down the list of contenders.

The friendship will thus end – for 15 minutes, anyway – as they go at it in a bout which will have a big impact on the rankings.

[Also: Joe Lauzon laughing all the way to the bank]

For Guillard, who has had a misstep just about every time it seems he's finally turned the corner, a win over his pal is critical.

Guillard has lost 10 times in his career, but said he'll never accept losing.

"If I had a kid and he brought home a second-place trophy, I'd make him burn that [expletive] in a tree," he said. "That's how I feel about getting second. I don't like losing at all. And I don't feel I'm running out of chances. I just feel it just wasn't my time. And I wouldn't lie to you. Had I won a title when I was 23, 24 years old, I probably would have ended up on the news for some dumb drug charges and probably thrown my whole life away because I would have been somebody in the spotlight at the wrong time in my life.

"I've matured. I've grown up. I've become an adult now. I take care of my family, I take care of myself. And right now, I'm an adult and I'm ready to wear that belt and represent the UFC as a man of integrity. And I don't feel I'm running out of time. I think right now I'm in my prime. I'm 29 years old. I'm not a kid anymore. I'm a man among men."

Other popular content on Yahoo! Sports:
Michael Silver: Packers defense vows to carry its share of the load this season
White Sox relegate once-perfect Philip Humber to relief
Wisconsin eyes Montee Ball as a Heisman candidate

view original article >>

Report here if this news is invalid.

Related News

UFC Hall of Famer Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira Carries Olympic Torch in Rio

  • 20 days ago
  • 194 views

From Yahoo Sports: Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira has long been considered one of the most respected fighters not only in the UFC, but in all of mixed martial arts. He has been a champion under both the Pr read news >>

Melvin Guillard Fined and Suspended by Kansas Commission for Banned Non-PED

  • 20 days ago
  • 38 views

Bellator fighter Melvin Guillard was suspended by the Kansas Athletic Commission on Friday for a positive drug test result for a non-performance-enhancing substance. read news >>

UFC 202 Primer: Donald Cerrone vs. Rick Story Head-to-Toe Breakdown

  • 10 days ago
  • 26 views

Donald Cerrone's (30-7, 1 NC) rise as a welterweight contender will be put to the test at UFC 202, where he'll square off against Rick Story (19-8). Cerrone finished 2015 with a disappointing result read news >>

Conor McGregor Talks Cristiano Ronaldo Friendship Before Nate Diaz UFC 202 Fight

  • 10 days ago
  • 49 views

Conor McGregor has said he would "slap the head off" Cristiano Ronaldo should the pair ever meet for a fight in the Octagon. The Real Madrid star recently dropped in the on the Irish UFC featherweigh read news >>

UFC Unfiltered: Cowboy Cerrone and Bob Saget

  • 8 days ago
  • 10 views

Donald Cerrone calls in live from Lake Mead ahead of his fight against Rick Story at UFC 202 and talks skydiving, Diaz vs. McGregor 2, and more. Then, comic and actor Bob Saget talks to Jim and Matt read news >>

Donald Cerrone vs. Rick Story Results: Winner and Reaction from UFC 202

  • 5 days ago
  • 30 views

Donald Cerrone is starting to gain steam as a welterweight. The longtime lightweight contender picked up his third consecutive victory in the 170-pound division with a second-round technical knockout read news >>

UFC 202 Results: Donald Cerrone Picture Perfect in TKO of Rick Story

  • 5 days ago
  • 37 views

Donald Cerrone's welterweight hot streak continued at UFC 202 on Saturday night with a picture-perfect finish of Rick Story. read news >>

UFC 202 Fight Highlights: Donald Cerrone Finishes Rick Story with Stunning Combination

  • 5 days ago
  • 18 views

Check out the UFC 202 fight highlights from the bout between Donald Cerrone and Rick Story. read news >>

Donald Cerrone Willing to Fight at 155 or 170 at UFC 205 in New York (Video)

  • 5 days ago
  • 4 views

Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone challenged lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez following his UFC 202 win over Rick Story, wants to fight at UFC 205 in New York. read news >>

Donald Cerrone Adds to Legacy with His 18th UFC Victory

  • 4 days ago
  • 21 views

Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone was victorious at UFC 202 with a stellar performance against one of the toughest outs in the entire welterweight division. He dispatched Rick Story inside of two rounds with a read news >>