Tuesday, April 3, 2007

UFC Lightweight Prospect Melvin "The Young Assassin" Guillard

By William Davis III

Melvin “The Young Assassin” Guillard was first introduced to UFC audiences through the reality series The Ultimate Fighter, where he competed in the 170 pound division. After the UFC reinstated the Lightweight division, Melvin moved down to 155 where he has dominated the competition. At only 23 years of age, Guillard has a mixture of raw athleticism and vicious punching power that makes him one of the brightest prospects in all of Mixed Martial Arts.

At the UFC’s Ultimate Fight Night 9 at the Palm’s in Las Vegas, The Young Assassin gets his first chance to perform in a main event as he takes on Joe Stevenson in a bout that has obvious title implications. The event will be shown on Spike TV on April 5.

Melvin took time out of his busy training regiment to talk to William Davis and discuss his upcoming fight.

WD: You are headlining the upcoming Ultimate Fight Night against Joe Stevenson in a match that could decide the number one contender to the title. How, and with who, have you been preparing for the fight?
MG: I’ve been training with Saul Soliz, Tito’s trainer. I’m out in Houston right now. We didn’t get to go up to Big Bear this time, but it’s the same training and teaching.

WD: Your ability to stand is well documented, but many fans aren’t aware that you were a state wrestling champ in high school. Do you plan to show off your grappling skill against Joe Stevenson at all?
MG: I use my grappling skills if I have to use them. My technique is going to be sprawl and brawl. I heard a rumor that he thought his hands were getting better which is probably just bullshit and him trying to hype himself.

I’m going in with the mind frame that he’s going to try to take me down and keep me on the ground. I’m not going to let that happen. As far as standing up, I’m not worried about him. Even on the ground, I feel comfortable. I’m working with some good Jiu-Jitsu guys, like Lee King. He’s going to have his hands full.

I don’t think he’ll make it out of the second round with me. I want to take him out in the first round, but I know my cardio is a lot better than his. I’m just going to get him tired and jump on him.

WD: This is your first UFC main event. What does this accomplishment mean to you?
MG: It means the world to me, but I treat every fight like it’s a championship fight. I just lost my father who was one of my biggest fans. So, I have a lot riding on this fight emotionally, and I feed off that emotion in my fights. I’m using those emotions to work for me right now. If Joe comes in and tries to fight off emotion, it will probably hurt him. But I can fight off my emotions and still be in my right frame of mind to do what I have to do.

WD: You’re one of the bigger 155 pound fighters. Is cutting weight difficult for you?
MG: I’ve been cutting weight since high school wrestling, so it’s not a big deal to me. My trainers and I put everything on a schedule so I never get off track.

WD: Your upcoming fight has Lightweight Title implications. How do you think you match up with Sean Sherk?
MG: Honestly, I match up with anybody. Right now, I’m young (23 years old) and a lot of these fighters are a lot older than me. I have one thing that they don’t have and that’s athletic ability. You can’t teach that, and you have to be born with it. No one is as explosive and fast as me. So, I’m not worried about anybody. Whoever they put in front of me, that’s who I’m going to take out.

If they bless me with a title shot, it will be something that I wasn’t expecting. At this stage in my life, I thought it would take a while before I would get one. But if I’m going to get one after this fight, I’m going to go at it hard.

WD: How did you attain the nickname “Young Assassin”?
MG: I was at the gym one day and wanted to pick a nickname. I was young, explosive, and beating everyone’s ass. I started thinking that I was assassinating everybody. That’s where it came from.

WD: Who, besides yourself, is your favorite fighter to watch?
MG: My favorite fighter to watch right now is Georges St. Pierre. We have similar styles. We’re both really explosive, and we move around the cage a lot. Many fighters just stand around. I identify with his style, and I’ve tried to learn a couple of his moves to make me better.

WD: Lastly, is there anything you want to say to your fans or people you’d like to thank?
MG: I always want to thank my sponsors, Warrior Wear, Punishment Athletics, and Supplements To Go. Without them, I wouldn’t be living. They take care of me fight to fight. I want to thank my mom and my family, we’ve been going through a lot. I have a lot of emotion tied up in this fight, but I’m not going to let it hurt me, it’s definitely going to help me in the long run. I’d also like to thank the Lord for blessing me and making it possible for me to fight in the UFC.


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