At 30-years-old, Melvin “Young Assassin” Guillard (31-12-2, 1 NC) is perhaps one of the most battle tested athletes in the UFC. As he prepares to battle Ross Pearson in Manchester, England’s Phones 4U Arena Saturday, Guillard’s hoping to bring home the upset and another post-fight bonus.
Most recently, Guillard made a move from training at Grudge Training Center to American Top Team. According to Daniel Cormier during the UFC Fight Night 30 weigh-in show, it was something Melvin did in order to be closer to home and aid his ailing sister.
As he heads into foreign soil for the first time ever in his extensive fight career, Guillard has gone through some changes with his management and his fight camp which he hopes will lead him down a brighter path.
With his latest move to American Top Team, Melvin sounded fired up to make a statement against Pearson.
“The depth chart there is ridiculous. I mean the team,” Guillard said to MMA Fight Corner. “I’ve been on some different teams in the past few years. I’ve trained with some great people. The American Top Team guys, all the guys are great, everybody. It’s a real family environment. A lot of people call teams family, but some, they wasn’t as much family as most. But this team here, it’s family bro.
“When they say family, everybody helps everybody. Everybody looks out for each other. Everybody asks how you’re feeling, like if you have any injuries. Some of the questions they ask are first time questions I’ve never heard a team ask. So I was like ‘wow ok’. There were people who told me bad things about American Top Team, but I feel like I’ve been lied to the whole time.
“American Top Team is a great fit for me,” Guillard continued. “I’m still prepared to visit Trevor Wittman and all those guys at Grudge from time to time to get some work with my striking and my boxing. I don’t want to be confined. I’m going to be on American Top Team as a team. But I want to be able to move around and visit other gyms and get other knowledge from other places. I think it’s good that way. I think that’s how you become a champion.”
Guillard also insisted that his performance against Ross Pearson won’t be affected by the switch.
“It’s like football sometimes you get traded to another team and you’ve gotta adapt in the middle of the season to another team. The good thing with fighting is you’re your own boss, you get to pick and choose where you want to train.”
In addition, Guillard has also brought in a new management team. Malki Kawa is now representing Guillard and he’s brought on a financial adviser who he credited with helping him make better decisions in managing his funds. Guillard joked that his affinity for purchasing fine automobiles has been halted by his new accountant.
But, if Melvin can rack up another fight night bonus in Manchester, he might put some money aside for a little something extra.
“That’s when everything in the gym was worth all the sweat, all the sacrificing. That’s what I like to do. I like to fight for the bonuses,” said Guillard. “When they call me and are like ‘You won Fight of the Night or Knockout of the Night’, I’m like ‘Hell yeah!’ I’m doing backflips in the other room. It’s a great feeling to win that extra money. And I think it was smart for Dana [White] to do that because it makes guys fight harder.”
If he can pull of a win over Pearson, Guillard has high hopes of fighting at UFC 168. Even though he’s fighting in the co-main event at UFC Fight Night 30, Guillard has no qualms about where he’s placed on the card as long as he gets on it.
“I want to beat Ross Pearson and I want to get on the December 28 card. And I’m hearing that it’s already stacked. So if I gotta fight on the Facebook portion of that card, I will fight on the Facebook portion. I guarantee you’ll get a lot of hits on Facebook,” Guillard said. “I’ll cross my fingers and hope Dana might grant me that wish.”