As soon as the co-main event for UFC 150 was announced, Melvin Guillard knew there would be a thousand questions thrown his way about fighting former training partner Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone.
The pair trained together at Team Greg Jackson for the better part of two years, but after Guillard split and moved to Florida to join the Blackzilians, it almost seemed inevitable that he would run into a former teammate at some point in the future.
Just about everybody was looking for some sort of dramatic, emotional turmoil between the two former teammates to build a storyline around their fight at UFC 150, but both Guillard and Cerrone are happy to disappoint.
There’s no fake animosity or bad feelings between the two fighters, and as soon as they were matched up a quick call was made and they agreed to give the fans the best possible fight they could.
“I’m happy to fight my buddy. A lot of people think that’s crazy but me and Cowboy are actually very happy about this fight and we both feel like this is a fight that can catapult hopefully one of us into title contention,” Guillard told MMAWeekly Radio prior to the fight.
It’s been over a year since Melvin Guillard was training full time at Greg Jackson’s gym in New Mexico, but he still has the utmost respect for his former team and coaches. Still, since joining his new team in Florida, the former Ultimate Fighter season 2 competitor has picked up quite a few new tricks and that’s what he’s most excited to show off on Saturday night.
“This fight happened at the right time as far as style wise, I’ve been able to work with Henri (Hooft) for half a year now, my kickboxing is second to none right now. No disrespect to coach Mike Winkeljohn, he was a great coach as well, but the way I’m training now, I’m able to take those kicks, I’m able to take certain punches, but I’m also giving it right back,” Guillard stated.
“My style’s a little bit different, but it hasn’t taken anything away from my style that got me where I am today. It just made me a little bit more of a meaner guy.”
The meaner attitude along with a slew of top training partners including former UFC light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans and multi-time kickboxing champion Tyrone Spong have upped his game tremendously over the last few months.
Guillard believes this is a newer, improved version of the fighter that they started to build at Jackson’s MMA, but now with a much deadlier arsenal.
He’s not taking anything away from his former teammates and coaches, but Guillard believes his new team at the Blackzilians have reached a new peak when it comes to performance at fight time.
“I haven’t trained with those guys since last year and since I’ve been here with coach Henri Hooft, my Dutch kickboxing coach, my kickboxing is second to none right now. I have some of the world’s best kickboxers and MMA fighters on my team,” said Guillard.
“I know if we had put team vs. team like a dual meet in wrestling, I’m pretty sure that my team that I’m with now would take just about every fight.”
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