David Rickels is one of the most entertaining fighters in all of MMA, due to his outlandish and wacky walkouts and his action inside the Bellator cage. But with all that he’s achieved thus far in his career, he is typically on the outside looking in regarding a world title shot.
He’ll get another chance to catapult himself into the spotlight on Friday when he fights UFC veteran Melvin Guillard at Bellator 159. Rickels appears as ready as ever and when speaking about Guillard, “The Caveman” is both complimentary of his opponent’s weapons but also believes his time has come and gone.
“He has become the ‘Middle-Aged Assassin,’” Rickels told Sherdog.com in a recent interview. “He’s had sort of a rough patch lately but I’ll be damned if some fighters don’t get a fire lit under their ass and do something crazy. He’s had a few losses here, but that’s the thing: I’m going to find out which Melvin shows up on fight night and we won’t know until we get there. He’s an extremely dangerous fighter who fights with reckless abandon and you’ve got to be well-prepared for that.”
Guillard is one of the most frightening punchers in all of MMA, not just at lightweight. But even with the Louisiana fighter’s recent struggles, Rickels understands how cautious he needs to be when engaging him, especially on the feet. Nobody can really tell what an opponent will do, but “The Caveman” said his most recent training camp put him through the ringer in preparation for literally anything.
“He’s super explosive and for me for to just go in and try to wrestle him would be kind of stupid,” he admitted. “I’m really confident in my striking, especially lately. But I think you can expect a little bit of everything, sort like that mixed martial arts stuff.
“If I had to guess, Melvin is going to come in try and take my head off,” he continued. “He could be looking at it like what he’s been doing wrong and try to play it smart but I can’t try to get inside another man’s head. I don’t know where his motivation is but what I do know is where I am right now. Everything is coming together and all of my training is translating great into what I’m trying to accomplish.”
And what’s that he’s trying to accomplish? Landing a second chance at capturing Bellator gold. He secured a much-needed win over Bobby Cooper in February and he knows he can ill-afford a loss to Guillard. However, a win over the longtime veteran, he believes, will put him right at the precipice of achieving his dreams.
“Cooper was a really important fight for me because that was a fight that I had to win,” he remarked. “I think I’m a much better fighter than he is so I absolutely had to win that fight. I think I’m a top five fighter in Bellator and I’m ready to fight for that belt and that’s what brings me to Melvin Guillard. I’ve got to beat him and get some momentum going for me, I need so validation for all of my training and I need Bellator to see that. Hopefully a win – a finish – over someone like Guillard will catapult me into a title shot.”