For the last year, Melvin Guillard has taken his time and worked his way up the lightweight division, and now he’s done asking for opportunities. He’s ready to tell the UFC he wants a title shot.
The one time “Ultimate Fighter” cast member has grown exponentially since joining up with Greg Jackson and his team in New Mexico, and what started out as a bold prediction in early 2010 has turned into reality, as Guillard gets ready for the main event at UFC Fight for the Troops against Evan Dunham.
If Guillard gets past Dunham, he’s ready for his shot.
“I think it’s my time,” Guillard told MMAWeekly Radio. “I’m not really asking anymore, I’m telling them I want my shot.”
The Louisiana native was happy to get the call from the UFC offering him the upgrade to the main event slot. He admits he was somewhat apprehensive about facing his original opponent, Yves Edwards, because they were longtime training partners, and he looked at Edwards as a mentor.
When the slot opened up to face Dunham in the main event, Guillard jumped at the chance. He also points out that he should have had the spot in the first place ahead of Kenny Florian, who was forced out of the fight with an injury.
“Being moved to the main event, I feel like I’m in my rightful place. I’ve won six of my last seven fights in the UFC, and I just feel that I deserve a title shot. It was supposed to be Kenny Florian that’s up there, but this guy has had chance after chance. He’s had numerous chances to be in the No. 1 contender’s spot, and he choked. I just feel like there’s so many 55er’s in the weight class, give some of the other guys, give me and some of the other guys a chance to be in the spotlight,” Guillard said.
“I wasn’t happy that Kenny got hurt, I like Kenny, he’s a cool guy and I’ve never had anything bad to say about him, but I feel like it was a blessing in disguise. Because originally I wanted to fight (Takanori) Gomi, but my teammate Clay Guida beat me to that prior to me asking and he ended up choking Gomi out anyway. So it was just one of those things it was meant to happen this way, and I’m happy that it happened this way.”
Guillard believes it’s time for the lightweight division, which is ripe with talent, to get some new blood in the contender’s spots and not recycle rematches.
“Everybody keeps seeing the same guys fight for titles, and at the end of the day we need to give the fans and you guys something different. There’s so much more talent out there, why keep having the same guys fight for the title? Unless it’s the middleweight class where they’re running out of guys to fight Anderson Silva, the 55 class shouldn’t be that way. There should be a new guy fighting for the title every fight,” he stated.
Guillard points to two former title contenders that each fought in a championship bout and were then granted an immediate rematch, and he thinks it’s time to move on.
“Even with B.J. (Penn), you know B.J. was the champion and he got an immediate rematch, I didn’t feel he deserved that immediate rematch. I felt he fell off the horse and he lost, and he should have accepted the loss, but because it was controversial and people thought he did win, they ended up giving him another title shot,” said Guillard.
“Look at the Gray Maynard fight. Gray should have won that fight had he put him away at the beginning of the first round. Gray can’t blame anybody but himself for not finishing. Had he just settled down and picked his shots, Frankie Edgar wouldn’t have made it out of that first round. I’m sorry. I’m one of those guys that hits hard and I know I’m explosive. Had that been me hitting Frankie Edgar, that fight would have been over.”
Guillard hopes to prove his point by beating Evan Dunham on Jan. 22, and then telling the UFC that he wants his title shot in 2011.