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The 56-fight "newcomer"

Story by Anthony Springer, Jr.

Melvin Guillard’s age belies his professional fighting experience.

At just 27, he carries a 44-9-3 record—a fight total that eclipses that of veterans like Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, Wanderlei Silva and Urijah Faber.

Given Guillard’s extensive history, it may come as a shock that he now considers himself a relative newcomer to the sport. “The Young Assassin” got a career boost when he hooked up with famed MMA trainer Greg Jackson. The move paid dividends as the Louisiana native won his last three under Jackson’s tutelage and is now a fighter to watch in the stacked lightweight division.

Jackson and company turned Guillard into a well rounded fighter. The results, he says, are evident by his performances and the showcasing of his new skills.

“I'm never going to forget all the memorable fights I've had as a young kid and growing up but coming here and turning over a new leaf and starting my life over again as a fighter and as a person, I just felt it was the right thing to do,” Guillard told Fight News about his proclamation that he’s now just 3-0 as a fighter. “Of course my record's going to keep growing in numbers but I want to stay undefeated under Coach Greg and Coach Miquadime and under Dr. Ron Tripp, my Judo coach, for as long as possible.”

Guillard will have another opportunity to add a “W” to his record under the Jackson’s MMA banner when he meets Evan Dunham (11-1) Saturday at UFC’s Fight For The Troops 2 event.

“I feel right now I'm 3-0 and I'm looking to be 4-0 after the 22nd after Dunham,” Guillard added with confidence.

No fighters go into bouts expecting to lose, but the initial statement has a hint of the old Melvin Guillard—until he praises Dunham. It’s not that he thinks his opponent—who has one very controversial loss to Sean Sherk on his record—is a pushover; “The Young Assassin” just believes he’s a superior fighter mentally and physically.

“I take nothing from Dunham at all. This guy is going to be tough. He's going to bring it but I'm ready for that test. I think mentally just the things in my past and in my life, I've mentally been broken so many times and I've slowly just crawled myself back to that mental side and I think I've been broken enough to where I won't let any fighter or anyone break me anymore.”

Guillard speaks often of his trials outside the cage—and many are well known. His family was displaced after Hurricane Katrina. In 2007, following a loss to now training partner Joe Stevenson, he tested positive for cocaine and received a suspension. Given Dana White’s tendency to shelve or axe fighters for run ins with the law, the fact that Guillard is still in the UFC at all is as noteworthy as his recent performances.

Even in the midst of legal and personal issues, White openly praised Guillard—with the caveat that the young fighter would be a major player if he got himself together. Years after making the claim, Guillard is making good on White’s claim, and the UFC President couldn’t be happier.

“He was always a kid that I thought had a ton of potential,” White said on a recent conference call. “It just so happened that Melvin's been able to stick around and stay in here and now it's paying off for him. He's doing the right thing and the kid's shining. He didn’t lose at all in 2010 and he's won six of his last seven fights and that’s a span over two years. So he's definitely gotten himself into a great position.”

With a new set of training partners that includes Joe Stevenson, Guillard also didn’t exclude the possibility that we might see the patented Joe Stevenson guillotine choke—and a potential submission bonus—in his future.

“I'm trying to get me 80 grand too so if I can pull off a submission, I know damn well I'll get it because Melvin Guillard putting on submissions is rare.”




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