Melvin Guillard and trainer Greg Jackson: Dave Mandel | Sherdog.com

It started out amicably enough, just a couple of guys willing to express mutual admiration through Octagon combat.

Back in November, when Melvin Guillard crossed paths with Jeremy Stephens during some UFC meetings, the two lightweights broached the subject of what it would be like to trade punches.

“We were just hanging out shooting the breeze, no animosity,” Guillard said. “He was like, ‘Hey man, we ought to fight some day.’ I was like, ‘Yeah, you’re right. It would definitely be Knockout of the Night or Fight of the Night for one of us.’”

When Guillard defeated Waylon Lowe at UFC 114 in May, he took things a step further by calling out the 24-year-old Iowa native. Guillard got his wish soon after, and the two will square off at UFC 119 on Sept. 25 at the Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.

What once seemed like a friendly agreement has gotten ugly. Stephens has been video blogging since the fight was announced.

In one episode of the blog, Stephens dyes a training partner’s hair blond and dubs him “Marvin Guillard” as a sort of mock imitation of the Louisiana native.

In another blog, Stephens has a message for Guillard: “You shouldn’t have called me out, bro. That’s a big mistake brother. I’ve been wanting to fight you since (Josh) Neer beat your ass. I was a little kid growing up. I’ve just been gaining strength, gaining momentum. I’m mentally tougher than you. I’m going to break you; going to break you down at your own game.”

Guillard isn't happy with some of the content, but he insists that Stephens will not get into his head.

“What was good turned into something bad,” said Guillard, who trains at Jackson's Mixed Martial Arts in Albuquerque, N.M. “It’s all part of everybody’s strategy to mentally break people, but being here with coach Greg (Jackson), it’s real hard to break me mentally now. I don’t play into the hype.”

Stephens' endeavor might be all in good fun. He wouldn't be the first person to drum up some animosity to promote a fight, a fact that Guillard acknowledges.

"On the inside, he's a nice guy," the “Ultimate Fighter 2” veteran said. "He's not the guy he's portraying himself to be. That's the same way (it was) when I was a young brash guy just talking a lot of crap.

"People didn't like me because I said certain things. Being a fighter is not all about fighting."

A younger, less focused Guillard might have responded differently. Early in his career everything from his conditioning to his focus was brought into question. And it wasn't just fans -- UFC president Dana White would often wonder aloud whether Guillard would ever fulfill his vast potential.

Now that Guillard is training under the watchful eye of Jackson and the rest of the team in New Mexico, positive change has been evident.

"I even think now the UFC accepts me in a different way. That was always Dana White's argument for me. Every time he saw me in the four fights I've lost, (those) were fights I was winning," he said. "He would say, 'Kid, the only thing you're missing is a good coach and a good training camp.'

"When I made the move to Albuquerque, I think it was a shocker to Dana as well. He came to me after my first win with Greg back in February, and he congratulated me not only for the win, but for making a good career move. He told me that coming here was the best thing I could have done."

The bout with Stephens will be Guillard's third fight under Jackson. He took a unanimous decision over Ronys Torres at UFC 109 and defeated Lowe by knockout in his first two fights with the respected camp.

Of his eight career losses, seven have been by submission, something he has been training diligently to avoid in the future.

"I'm still not a black belt in jiu-jitsu, not even a brown belt, but I'm holding my own against real good jiu-jitsu guys in my camp," he said. "For instance, Cowboy (WEC lightweight Donald Cerrone), he's one of the toughest guys I have problems with in here with jiu-jitsu because he's so long. Even when I'm posturing up, he's still able to pull off certain submissions on me."

Improved submission defense could prove to be a moot point at UFC 119, because the pairing of Guillard with Stephens looks more like a contest that starts and ends with striking.

Guillard counts 16 knockouts or TKOs among his 25 victories, and he has yet to be finished by strikes. Stephens has earned 12 of his 17 wins in similar fashion, and he too has never been finished on the feet. "The Young Assassin" maintains that his skills make everyone at 155 pounds wary.

"I know I'm one of the best lightweights in the division. Everybody that steps into the cage against me, they all fear me because I have knockout power, very good athleticism and I'm a great wrestler,” he said. “Guys that come in against me, it's hard for them to prepare."

view original article >>
Report here if this news is invalid.

Related News

Welcome to the UFC, Darren Till

  • 6 days ago
  • 4 views

T.J. Waldburger is injured again, but since we're a couple weeks out from his fight, this time around a replacement was found. T.J. Waldburger has had a tough go of things in the UFC lately. He's bee read news >>

Woman thwarts rape with triangle choke, wins cash reward for jiu-jitsu justice

  • 6 days ago
  • 38 views

Score another one for the good guys! Er, gals in this case. A woman who was attacked while walking home late one evening prevented her own rape by using a triangle choke to thwart her assailant. In a read news >>

With Mark Munoz's exit, say goodbye to one of MMA's good guys

  • 10 days ago
  • 25 views

As Mark Munoz retires from MMA at 37, he leaves behind an unremarkable professional record and a mostly bare trophy case. How will we remember one of the sport’s good guys, even if he never won the b read news >>

30-0 Bellator prospect ignores haters: ‘I’m happy to shut them up’

  • 11 days ago
  • 53 views

Julio Cesar Neves started his MMA career at age 18. Less than four years later, he’s already looking for his 31st victory. Born in Balneario Camboriu, Santa Catarina, "Morceguinho" is one of the best read news >>

Mark Munoz happy his MMA 'journey' to end in 'the place it all started'

  • 12 days ago
  • 3 views

In the best-case scenario, Mark Munoz would go to Manila and walk through Luke Barnatt in front of his entire ancestry. He would do away with the last couple of losses where he was a shell of himself read news >>

Khabib Nurmagomedov wants Pettis and Diaz on same night: ‘These guys are easy money for me’

  • 14 days ago
  • 2 views

UFC Lightweight Khabib Nurmagomedov has no problem fighting “easy money” Anthony Pettis and Nathan Diaz on the same night. read news >>

UFC Fight Night 65: 'Miocic vs. Hunt' results recap for 'Prelims'

  • 17 days ago
  • 5 views

A "Prelims" rich fight card got us started tonight (May 9, 2015) in Adelaide, South Australia. Check out the men and women who had their hand raised! Trigger-happy heavyweights and budding middleweig read news >>

Pacquiao-Mayweather Vegas odds update: 'Pac Man' narrows underdog gap

  • 25 days ago
  • 2 views

Last week, we showed you guys some of the crazy prop bets Bovada is providing for tomorrow's (Sat., May 2, 2105) super fight between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao. As it turns out, the online s read news >>

Josh Thomson: I ask for higher ranked guys, and I keep getting no-names

  • 26 days ago
  • 26 views

SAN JOSE – UFC lightweight Josh Thomson says his motivation to be a fighter hasn’t necessarily waned in recent years, but now, he’s thinking about the next chapter of his life. Filed under: Featured, read news >>