UFC 132 lightweight Melvin “The Young Assassin” Guillard (28-8-2) has gone through a transformation since his days on “The Ultimate Fighter.”
After having mixed success in the Octagon, Guillard turned to Greg Jackson to refine his game, which has been a recipe for success. He has gone 4-1 in his last five bouts.
Heading into this Saturday night’s UFC 132 bout with WEC veteran Shane Roller (10-3), the 28-year-old has a new strength and conditioning routine to try and further separate him from the rest of the pack.
“It’s a lot of heavy weights, but it’s for recovery, like short bursts and recovery,” Guillard told MMAWeekly Radio.
“So, right now I’m working on my recovery time, for like the heat of battle in a fight. You get those bursts where you just throw a combination and there might be some wrestling involved and a scramble. Once I break that tie and we break loose from each other it gives me a chance to recover. That’s mainly what the swimming is about. I’m doing a lot of lung capacity type swimming, it’s a lot of stuff the Navy SEALs do.”
Casual fans of the sport may have no idea about Roller being a three-time All-American wrestler for Oklahoma State University and that he has won six of his 10 fights via submission. It may be easy to look past him since Guillard is coming off a tremendous victory over Evan Dunham. However, Guillard refuses to take anybody lightly and wants to keep earning his way up the UFC lightweight ladder.
“I was expecting to fight Jim Miller or one of the top guys. You know what? It doesn’t even matter. Like I told you guys when I beat Dunham, if I don’t get a title shot I want to go undefeated this year.
“Shane Roller is not a slouch though, a lot of people are sleeping on this kid and a lot of people don’t know him. The problem is he hasn’t fought any worthy people to put him in the rankings to make him one of the top elite. To me, he’s still dangerous and if I let him walk away with a victory, I let him walk away with my spot.”
While many observers may point out Guillard’s striking power, there have been some who have fallen asleep on his wrestling abilities. Make no mistake about it, Guillard has underrated grappling skills and explosive athleticism that could prove to be difficult for Roller to get past.
“His style is tailor-made for me. He’s going to walk into a lot of things he’s not going to like when he gets hit with it. Everybody sleeps on my wrestling and if people get through to my right hand, I keep my state championship ring on my hand. Yeah I wrestled at a high school level. I wrestled one year in college and then I was already working towards being an MMA fighter. So, no matter if I won an NCAA title I’d have to give it back. That’s almost like being a college football player and taking money.”
The 28-year-old’s confidence is at an all-time high for his UFC 132 bout after adding two new striking coaches a long with his training in Albuquerque, N.M., and looks at himself like a fine artist improving his craft.
“I think going into this fight, I’m very confident. My cardio is great. I have some new weapons that I’m working on that I’m mastering right now. I look at myself like a Picasso of striking. You have good strikers like you have the average artist that’s decent, that can paint some beautiful things, and then you got guys like da Vinci and Picasso and these guys take it to the next level, that’s the way I feel about my striking.”