Melvin “The Young Assassin” Guillard has a new home. | Photo: Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
Unless you are addicted to the Discovery Channel or currently taking seventh-grade biology, you might not know what “symbiosis” means. It involves a close and mutually beneficial relationship between two organisms of deferent species: sharks and remora, bees and orchids. Get it?
That sums up how Melvin Guillard views his relationship with the World Series of Fighting. “The Young Assassin” will make his promotional debut against Gesias Cavalcante at WSOF 11 on Saturday at the Ocean Center in Daytona Beach, Fla. It will mark his first appearance in the cage since exiting the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
“I feel like it’s a new start and I’m happy about that, because sometimes you need that,” Guillard told Sherdog.com. “If you’re in a job for so many years and everything just sort of goes to a standstill -- that’s how I felt in the UFC. I had a little bit of a roller coaster with ups and down, wins and losses. My training wasn’t that great, and I wasn’t training as hard as I should have, probably. I just got bored. I was even to the point where I didn’t even know if I wanted to fight anymore.
“Because the pay wasn’t that great, it didn’t give me any motivation to want to go out and fight any harder,” he added. “Now that I’m in a different organization, the pay is better. It gives me more motivation to go out and fight hard and get these knockouts and earn extra money, and that’s where I’m at right now in my career.”
Guillard believes he can repay the World Series of Fighting’s generosity as the organization prepares for its first show on NBC.
“Well, they definitely picked the right guy to put on that card,” he said. “I have people that have never seen the WSOF that are going to be tuning in to see me fight because they want to see me fight. At the end of the day, I’m also helping the WSOF with their brand and their popularity, because I’m that popular of a fighter and I give myself credit where credit is due. I know I’m that popular, and I know what my self worth is. Right now, I’m doing these guys a solid at the WSOF and I’m also doing the guys at 155 [pounds] in my weight class a solid, as well, because nobody knows who they are. That’s not me being cocky or overconfident; that’s just me calling facts.”
Guillard may not consider himself cocky, but he pulls no punches when discussing the current roster of WSOF lightweights he has joined. He intends to make an immediate impact at 155 pounds.
“When I look at the World Series and I look at their roster of fighters in the 155 class -- and I’m not taking anything from these guys because they’re hard workers, too -- I know I’m the better fighter than all these guys,” he said. “When I look in these guys’ eyes, I can see that they don’t want to fight me. They don’t want anything to do with me, and I don’t blame them because I’m just that type of fighter. Time will tell when I start dropping them like flies and taking them out one by one. Everybody’s going to start to know that Melvin’s not to be messed with.”
Guillard currently trains with American Top Team, but up until a year or so ago, he was a member of the Florida-based Blackzillians -- a team to which Cavalcante belongs. He embraces the familiarity he has with his upcoming opponent.
“JZ’s a former teammate, so I kind of know what to expect a little bit,” he said. “A lot of guys that fight me never want to stand up with me. Everybody tries to take me down. I think he’s going to try to look for a submission. My thing is to go in there and avoid the early takedown when we’re both dry and not sweating. Me personally, I’m looking to knock the home run.”
Guillard has plenty of motivation, as he revealed that the WSOF has incentivized the match.
“They offered the winner of me and JZ a title shot,” said Guillard. “I have the opportunity right now to become a world champion by the end of the year. I feel like [Cavalcante] is just in the way.”
Beyond the promise of an opportunity to compete for the lightweight title, Guillard looks at his upcoming stint with the World Series of Fighting as a shot at a new beginning that bears a real resemblance to the chance he was given nearly a decade ago with the UFC.
“I was fortunate enough to be on Season 2 of ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ and I remember that the UFC was so different compared to now, and I had the opportunity to grow with them the last nine years,” he said. “Now, I have the opportunity to go to the WSOF and grow with these guys. For me, it’s amazing. Here I am with another organization where I have the opportunity not only to grow with the company but put myself out there to be known to a lot of people in the world that don’t even know me yet.”
Guillard’s confidence and call-it-like-you-see-it attitude is part of the image he has created -- an image he believes has helped him build his brand.
“I did that for myself,” he said. “Being that brash guy and being the one that’s outspoken, I created my own identity. I’m proud of that. The guys who played it quiet and played it safe, you don’t even know who they are.”
Underneath it all sits a man who realizes what his latest opportunity entails. A recent incident reminds him of all he has to lose. In early June, Guillard and his wife were driving home in his Shelby Cobra when he hit a wet spot on the road, lost control of the car and smashed into two roadside signposts. The car was totaled.
“I walked away from that accident with just minor bumps and bruises and so did my wife,” he said. “That accident was pretty bad. We both should have been injured. My wife probably shouldn’t even have lived through the accident, and we both walked away. I’m thankful that’s as bad as it got, because it could have been a hundred times worse a hundred times over. I felt like I used to take a lot of things for granted, but I’m here, I’m healthy and I can still walk on my own two feet.”
Thoughtful at times, particularly in light of a near-fatal auto accident, Guillard soon returns to the prospect of dominating mixed martial arts.
“So I’m definitely blessed and it definitely taught me not to take for granted my God-given gifts,” he said. “So I’m definitely going to put those gifts to use [this] weekend, and I’m going to execute and take JZ out.”