To say that Melvin Guillard’s back is against the wall would be an understatement.
The longtime UFC veteran is struggling through a three-fight losing streak and has dropped four of his last five overall. But on Friday night in one of the featured bouts of Bellator 159, he’ll get a chance to right the ship.
Standing in the way of Guillard’s hoped return to greatness is David Rickels, a man known just as much for his showmanship outside the cage as he is for his excitement inside of it. Rickels is a dangerous fighter in all areas, but when asked about his upcoming foe, Guillard quickly dismissed him as any sort of potential threat.
“I don’t have any thoughts on him,” he told Sherdog.com. “He’s just another piece of s--t that I’m gonna have to beat up. He’s been running his mouth a little bit on the internet. He’s been disrespectful, calling me the ‘Middle-Aged Assassin’ and it’s rude. I’m going to have to teach this dude a lesson.”
Guillard also brushed off the notion that what Rickels has been saying online and in interviews has helped get him pumped up for battle.
“I don’t have to hype myself up about anything,” he stated. “I’ve have a few setbacks and some injuries but I know what to do. I’ve been doing this a long time so when this guy talks s--t or you guys in the media talk s--t about me, I don’t care. It don’t matter to me because I’m going to knock ‘Caveman’ out in the first round and then hopefully get another fight in September.”
If Guillard is to knock his rival out, it will likely come during an exchange on the feet, something Rickels claims he’s willing to do. Guillard, naturally, scoffs as such talk and claims that Rickels is lying through his teeth.
“Come on, man,” Guillard shouted. “He ain’t going to stand and bang with me! Come on, man. He’s just putting that out there in the media. Do you think I’m going to put my entire gameplan out to the media? Why would you do that? I wouldn’t. He can’t take a punch and all these top guys like [Michael] Chandler and Patricky [Freire] knocked him out. I’m the last guy he wants to stand and bang with. I know he’ll try and set up takedowns and try and get me to the ground.”
Besides what Rickels has been saying leading up to this fight, Guillard is on edge whenever someone claims he’s a shopworn fighter or that he’s washed up. He’s still relatively young but with all of the wars he’s been involved in, coupled with his recent struggles, some in the media believe his best days are long gone.
“I’m 33. This will be my 180th win in my career but nobody ever lists all of my fights,” he said. “I’ve been doing this a long time but how am I shot? Since when did 33 become an old age? Yes, I’ve lost three in a row but I never got dominated in any of those fights. That Campos fight I took on two weeks’ notice. How the f--k can anybody call me old? Dan Henderson and Randy Couture are fighting well into their 40s, almost 50. Only a piece of s--t dumb-ass will call me old. How can anybody have the audacity to call me old?”
Guillard freely admits that he is under immense pressure to win. Not just from Bellator but from deep within. He knows a loss would be crippling to his immediate future but that’s what he likes. And, he said with somewhat of a chuckle, Rickels is tailor-made for “Young Assassin.”
“Why do you think they gave me Rickels to fight?” he asked. “They basically gave me a scrub and that’s how I’m going to fight him, to show the world that he ain’t nothing but a scrub.”