Following his release from the UFC in early 2011, former King of the Cage welterweight champion Mike “Joker” Guymon decided it was time to step away from the sport. A year later, he felt amiss in his decision to retire, and decided to return to MMA.
As Guymon explains, “I didn’t want to go out the way I did. I feel like I cheated everyone: the UFC, my friends, my fans, my training partners and myself. (By the time I had reached) UFC Fight Night for the Troops, it was like a shadow of me; it wasn’t me at all.”
After troubles maintaining a healthy medicinal balance for his battle with depression, Guymon was able to right himself. And with his mental wellbeing in check, it was time to make a comeback.
“I took a fight with BAMMA (in March), coming back at 155 pounds and fought Cris Leyva and I felt great,” Guymon told MMAWeekly.com. “I had that fire back in me. Just everything that was missing before, I had that back.”
Then this past Friday, Guymon’s triumphant return continued, as he took a unanimous decision over Xtreme Couture prospect Mike Dizak at BAMMA’s latest installment in Commerce, Calif.
“This was probably the toughest out of all my fights because I did it with a fractured shoulder,” said Guymon. “So to fight someone like Dizak and come out on top with the adversity I went through is something I’m still, like, tripping on.
“It’s not the way of winning a fight that I’d like, but it got the job done and to get the ‘W’ under conditions like that, I’m pretty ecstatic. I used every little bit for this fight – even cutting weight, all the veteran things, the little things – the small things are what got me through this fight.”
Sporting back-to-back wins for the first time three years, Guymon is eager to step back into the cage and work his way back to the UFC to rectify his earlier misstep.
“I think there’s a couple of things that need to be done on my shoulder, but I want to get back in there,” he said. “I want to work my back into the UFC and show people what I can do.
“I’d love to do it this year, but I think it’d be unrealistic to think I could pull off a huge string of victories quick by the end of this year with the way my physicality is now. I’m thinking that at the very first part of next year, I’d love to have that position where I’m back in the UFC and I’m fighting at 155 pounds.”
As Guymon points out, the clock isn’t necessarily in his corner, so if he’s going to make one last run, it’s going to have to materialize in the near future.
“I don’t have many big windows of opportunity,” he said. “If I’m going to do this, it’s going to be now or never. It’s basically that simple.
“I’m 37 years old, and this sport every day is getting younger, stronger, better, badder, faster, everything. There’s so much that comes into play that if I’m going to do that, I can’t wait because Father Time is coming quick.”