It’s common that any time a fighter comes off a big win a slew of challengers line up to try and get the next shot at them. Such is the case with Melvin Guillard, who showcased his skills in a dominant victory over Evan Dunham last Saturday night at UFC Fight For The Troops 2.
Guillard has often been seen as an extremely talented fighter who hadn’t lived up to his potential. He proved everybody wrong by blasting through Dunham, something no one else had done to the Oregonian throughout his professional MMA career.
The first to take a shot at Guillard following his win was former UFC lightweight title contender Kenny Florian, who said when appearing on Pro MMA Radio, “If Melvin thinks he deserves a shot over me, he should fight me and beat me.”
Guillard of course heard about the comments, and while he has the utmost respect for Florian, he doesn’t think that fight does anything for him right now.
“I’ve got mad respect for Kenny. He’s a good friend. I talk to him all the time. There’s no animosity, but of course he’s going to feel like that when I’m on top right now. He’s had his shot. He’s had two chances to be a champion, he didn’t make it,” Guillard told MMAWeekly Radio on Tuesday.
“I don’t take nothing from Kenny. He’s a dangerous fighter, just like Dunham and everybody else. Anyone that steps into that Octagon is dangerous because anyone can win at any given day. But I feel like Kenny had his chance.”
Florian has been looking for a fight when he comes back later this year after a knee injury forced him out of the bout against Evan Dunham last weekend. The Boston area fighter also looked to challenge final WEC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis, but his camp opted to face someone coming off a win and not a loss. Pettis instead took a fight against Clay Guida at the June 4 “Ultimate Fighter Season 13″ finale.
Guillard seems to take a similar approach towards a fight with Florian, not out of disrespect, but simply because right now it doesn’t push him closer to his ultimate goal of getting a title shot.
“Now him asking to fight me? He’s only doing that because he’s in the shadows and nobody’s talking about him. He’s not in the spotlight,” Guillard said about Florian. “If he wants that fight it has to be worth it for me, because honestly at this point in my career, and me and my agent already agreed on it, I’m not going to get anything out of beating Kenny Florian. He’s going to gain, and I’m going to lose, so that’s not a fight that I’m looking for.”
What Guillard is looking for is a chance to prove he deserves a title shot. He’s not willing to sit and wait for things to happen, and if the UFC comes calling tomorrow with a new challenge, he’s up to take it.
“I’m looking for a No. 1 contender or I want a champion. That’s all I want right now,” said Guillard. “If I have to take another stepping stone and Kenny wants to throw himself in there, I promise you if that fight happens, I’m going to (expletive) him up and I’m going to make it impressive. I’m going to let him know that he can’t beat me, period.
“I’m not going to sit here and wait for a title shot. I’ll put my reputation on the line and that’s why my record is so big because I will fight weekend after weekend. Right now that’s the best preparation for me is to keep fighting. So whoever they put in front of me, I’m going to fight.”
One fight that seems particularly intriguing to most fans is to match up Guillard against Pettis. Currently, Pettis is instead set to face Guillard’s teammate, Guida, but it’s a fight that the native of New Orleans is happy to accept.
As a matter of fact, he doesn’t even care if Pettis sees exactly what he’s going to do to win the fight.
“Me and Pettis hung out, he trains with my old kickboxing coach and childhood friend Patrick Barry. So he got to see my warm-up. People are like ‘you’re going to warm up in front of guys you’re going to fight?’ I don’t care,” Guillard stated. “When I go into a fight, I’m going to execute my skill.
“I don’t care if I’m the champion and I trained with the guy I’m going to fight, he can see everything that I’m working on, I’m that confident in my skill. I’m not cocky at all, but I’ve been doing this for so long, I’ve wrestled all my life, I’ve been a competitor, and I’m an athlete first before anything.”
Guillard is taking very little time off following the big win over Dunham. He is already back in New Mexico training with coaches Greg Jackson and Mike Winkeljohn, and plans on helping other teammates prepare for their upcoming battles as well.