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Dunham ready for Guillard

Story by Andreas Hale

It was highway robbery on September 25th, 2010, and everyone knew it…except for the judges. Evan Dunham appeared to do enough to upend Sean Sherk at UFC 119 and keep his undefeated record intact. But when the scores were read, Dunham ended up on the wrong side of a split decision. His unbeaten streak ended at 11 and just about everyone was shocked at the judges’ decision.

Fast forward to today and Dunham is preparing to face Melvin Guillard at “UFC: Fight For The Troops 2” on January 22nd, nearly four months after the stunning decision.

“It sucks to have your undefeated record taken away like that,” Dunham said on a recent conference call as he prepares to get back to his winning ways against the ultra hot Guillard on Saturday. “There’s no going back to change it. I lost as an amateur and know how to come back from them. It’s a bummer and I have to deal with them the best I can.”

It was a minor setback for Dunham, but magnified by the influx of talent in the 155 lbs division thanks to the merging of lightweights from the WEC. Dunham is looking to work his way into the pecking order up top with a victory on Saturday and everyone knows he has the talent to do it.

“There’s so much talent in the 155 division it’s crazy,” UFC President Dana White said when asked about Dunham’s placement after the loss. “It’s a good problem to have. The way I look at Dunham is he’s undefeated. He got screwed. I think he won that fight. He’s one of the most talented up and coming fighters in this division.”

It’s a small consolation after losing in such a controversial manner. But the past is the past for the Xtreme Couture fighter and all he can do is correct the mistakes he made which led to the judges taking the victory away from him.

“It was a tough loss. There were things I did wrong,” said Dunham. “I need to change a few things in my game so that won’t happen again. All I can do is learn from that loss.”

With Guillard standing in front of him on Saturday night, Dunham is well aware of the danger that is in front of him. Guillard is an immense talent who may be finally realizing his potential under the tutelage of Greg Jackson. He’s won three fights in a row and has looked exceptional in all of them. He also has an advantage with his standup that Dunham will look to neutralize with his accomplished BJJ skill set. On paper, each fighter possesses the other’s kryptonite and when they duke it out in front of the troops, it looks to be quite the crowd pleasing battle.

“It’s really motivating going into this fight knowing the troops sacrifice everything and the least we can do is put on a good show,” the 29-year-old said. “I think it will be a great show so we can show our appreciation for us and the sacrifices they have made for us.”

White mentioned that the winner of the main event will definitely be “in the mix” for a title shot, something that Dunham explains that is not really on his mind. The most important thing for him at this point is to add Guillard’s name to the list of fighters that he has taken out during his UFC tenure. With Tyson Griffin, Efrain Escudero and Marcus Aureilio already on his resume, Guillard’s name would top that list and kick off Dunham’s 2011 campaign in a major way.

“I don’t have any timeframes (to become champion) I just worry about one thing at a time,” Dunham explains. “All that’s on my plate is getting past Melvin. I know if I take care of what’s in front of me, things will take care of themselves. I don’t have a timeframe, but my goal is to have that belt.”

His name may not be as recognizable as BJ Penn, Clay Guida, Kenny Florian and Frankie Edgar yet, but if he keeps up his winning ways, Dunham is sure that everyone will recognize.

“It never really bothers me,” he says about his lack of notoriety. “I just figured if I fight my ass if people will notice.”

If he fights his ass off again on Saturday, people will have no choice but to notice.



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