Guillard Opens Up on Rehab, Diaz Prep

By Loretta Hunt Sep 14, 2009
Melvin Guillard flew solo during Monday’s teleconference call for UFC Fight Night 19, which airs live Wednesday on Spike TV on 8 p.m. EST/PST. Guillard meets "The Ultimate Fighter 5" winner Nate Diaz in the headlining lightweight bout.

Guillard was suspended by the NSAC for eight months in 2007 after testing positive for cocaine, then weathered a six-month rehab stint in Texas -- he said for violating the travel terms on his probation.

Maturity and focus were the main talking points for the 26-year-old fighter known in the past for his brash attitude as much as for his speed and agility in the cage.

Some highlights from the call:

• Diaz’ arsenal: “I don’t feel his standup is great at all. He’s mediocre, average standup. The one thing that concerns me is his ground game, but after my last fight against Gleison Tibau with being patient on the ground really helped me with that fight. I’m not really going into this fight worried about anything, really.

Where Guillard has to watch himself: “He’s one of those guys where you could think you’re in a good position, but then he throws a submission on out of nowhere, so I just have to be very cautious. I have to be very methodical about my attack. I definitely have to watch my aggressiveness… he likes to wear his opponents down.

“I’m willing to back away and stay away from his guard as much as possible. I’m gonna make sure I make him fight my game, and I’m gonna stick to my game plan.”

Where Guillard sees his opening: “I’ve noticed Nate having trouble with guys that were good wrestlers that kept the pressure on him... I think with two guys that like to be aggressive and move forward, that’s going to make for a good fight. I’m that confident that my striking is more superior than Nate’s.”

On getting a little help from his friends: “I just talked to Joe (Stevenson) two days ago (Stevenson decisioned Diaz at “The Ultimate Fighter 9” Finale in June). He gets up here tomorrow. I’m going to have Joe go over a couple of submission defense and a couple of things on the ground he used against Nate.”

Guillard’s turning point in rehab: “I guess right after UFC 86 when I beat Denis Siver. I had a very disrespectful probation officer. She never tried to work with me; she was always against me. That’s the reason why I had to spend five months in a rehab (facility). A lot of people thought I went to rehab because I was still doing drugs and partying, but that wasn’t the case. I went back because I was violated for leaving and she caused that for saying I didn’t have permission. The turning point for me was when I had to sit in a rehab, which to me was jail; I had to sit there for six months. Those six months gave me time to miss my family. I missed my wife. I missed the sport. I sat there all the time, night and day, just thinking about, that I hope and pray that Dana and them understand what’s going on and I still have a job when I get out.”

On a new outlook: I feel reborn again. Me and my wife will be married for a year (on) Oct. 27. I’ve always learned growing up that you don’t how the good times are unless you endured the bad…I just don’t look at any of the bad things anymore. I just want to keep moving forward, keep progressing in the sport, and hopefully someday be a world champion.

“It’s pretty much the new, mature Melvin. I have no bad blood with any fighter other than Rich Clementi. I’m already to the age now where I’m 26, I’ve aged overnight. I had to grow up overnight if I wanted to continue to be successful in this sport. I have no problems with Nate.”

Where Guillard sees himself next: “I’m hoping after this victory, that I could fight a top-five contender, maybe Frankie Edgar, Tyson Griffin, or someone of that nature –- the guys that have been on good streaks.

In other notes:

• Spike TV rep David Schwartz didn’t shoot down the idea that more pay-per-view prelim bouts could find their way to the network on future dates, like what fans will see Saturday during UFC 103.

“Anytime we’re afforded the opportunity for the live fights, especially with some great fights, Efrain Escudero-Cole Miller… some guys that fought on “The Ultimate Fighter” on Spike, we jump at the opportunity, so we’ll see what happens,” said Schwartz.
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