Melvin Guillard had some success training under Greg Jackson, but he decided his best move was to exit the New Mexico-based camp and join the Blackzilians in Florida. Now he’s already about to find himself in the cage against a Jackson-trained fighter, as he’s scheduled to meet Donald Cerrone on Aug. 11 at UFC 150.
Jackson doesn’t have any ill will for Guillard ahead of the fight, though.
“We’re on good terms,” he told the Sherdog Radio Network’s “Beatdown” show. “He left amicably. It wasn’t like he said a lot of bad things or anything. He just felt that the Blackzilians in Florida were a better fit for him, so he went there. We always wish him the best. It’s nothing personal or anything like that. Donald’s our guy, so we’re just going to try to make sure he wins. It’s going to be a great fight.”
Guillard was complimentary of the Jackson camp, but he did say that his departure was due in part to a lack of individual attention. As one of the premier trainers in MMA, Jackson keeps a busy schedule to say the least.
“I’m not going to be able to be there every single day,” Jackson said. “We have a lot of fighters and you have a lot of teammates, and if you’re OK with that, then we’re kind of the team for you. I’ll do as much as I can for you, but I can’t be there 24 hours a day, always available, obviously. If you’re OK with kind of being a little independent but still always improving, always having a plan, always part of a bigger scheme and then giving time to your teammates so that they have coaching as well, we’re definitely the team for you. That doesn’t fit for everybody.”
It fits for Cerrone, a long-time member of the team. He sparred with Guillard “quite a bit” during Guillard’s tenure in Albuquerque, according to Jackson, who wouldn’t elaborate on how the sessions went. The coach did acknowledge that he personally has a pretty good grasp on Guillard’s game, though.
“I’m sure he’s improved out there in Florida,” Jackson said. “He’s a smart guy. He’s very, very talented. I’m sure he’s improved stuff. I do know him pretty well. I’m not sure if it will pay off or not, but certainly he’ll come with some new tricks and hopefully ‘Cowboy’ will be adaptable enough to get around them.”
One aspect in particular that Jackson helped Guillard with was ground defense. The 29-year-old from Louisiana still seems prone to submissions, but Jackson spoke highly of his ability.
“With a guy like Melvin, he actually has very good ground defense,” Jackson said. “If he stays calm and scoots to the fence and he pushes your head down and gets up, he’s got very, very good ground defense. He’s also very, very fast and he’s very powerful. It’s always risky no matter where we are with him. What we have to do is, we have to kind of fight for the little things and make sure that we fight for especially the initial positions a lot. If we’re able to do that, we should win.”
Listen to the full interview (beginning at 26:05).