It was almost exactly one year ago that Melvin Guillard crushed Shane Roller at UFC 132 and it seemed like he was on the precipice of a title shot.
Now just two fights later and Guillard finds himself outside the top ten, on the preliminary portion of the UFC 148 fight card, and with his back against the wall trying to avoid the dreaded three losses in a row.
The truth is there is no magic formula for keeping a job in the UFC. If Dana White and matchmaker Joe Silva decide to keep you around, you stay around; if not, you start looking for a new job.
But as he heads into his UFC 148 bout against Brazilian Fabricio Camoes, Guillard is looking at this fight like it’s do or die because there is no third option.
“I think I perform best when my back’s against the wall,” Guillard told MMAWeekly Radio. “I didn’t get the phone call and nothing was said to me, but in my mind it’s one of those things where you have to go out and win because if you don’t win it could be your last fight in the UFC. Joe Silva can cut you for a while; you can have to go fight somewhere else.”
For the better part of a year, Guillard couldn’t do an interview without the UFC lightweight title coming up, but it’s crazy how much the world changes in just two fights. Of course Guillard still wants to be champion one day, but the only thing on his mind right now is blasting Fabricio Camoes out of the Octagon Saturday night.
“Going into this fight off two losses, I feel like this is a must win fight for me. I’m not thinking about the title, I’m not thinking about who I’m going to fight next, I’m thinking about who’s in front of me,” said Guillard.
“I’m thinking about Fabricio (Camoes) right now, thinking that I have to go in and win, but not only just edge out a win, I need to win impressively.”
On paper this match-up looks like it plays into an area that people keep pointing to as Guillard’s weak point – his submission game.
Yes, Guillard has been submitted in his last two fights and yes, Fabricio Camoes is a high level Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt, but the Ultimate Fighter alum isn’t ignoring all the critics when it comes to his ground game.
Guillard is the first to point out that he knows there’s work to be done, but the biggest part of his game that needs to change is his mental make-up when these bad situations occur in fights.
“I just have to make sure if I end up in a bad position that I don’t panic and that I work to get to a better position. That’s what I’ve been doing day in and day out in training camp. It’s been about being put in bad situations and getting out of those bad situations,” said Guillard.
He’s enjoying the work so much that he’s actually taking up grappling as a hobby on the side. Now that’s not to say Guillard won’t be trying to knock Camoes’ head into the fourth row come fight time, but he’s confident that if the fight does hit the ground he’ll be looking for the finish, not going into panic mode.
“I’m actually competing in gi and no-gi tournaments now; I have one the third week of July after my fight in NAGA here in Orlando. I’m excited about that as well. I’m taking those professional baby steps to show not only to myself, show my fans, that I am working on things that have been troubling me in the past and that is the submission game,” Guillard admitted.
Now the key is putting it all together and showing everybody just what Melvin Guillard is made of.