The showdown between lightweights Melvin Guillard and Rich Clementi at UFC 79: "Nemesis" on Saturday, December 29, might not be the sexiest bout on fight card but it could be the most heated.
That's because "The Young Assassin" and "No Love" -- two Louisiana products -- have a long-running beef with one another, which culminated in unsanctioned backstage fisticuffs during an MMA show at the Houma Civic Center earlier this year.
Here's Guillard's version thanks to the Shreveport Times:
"He didn't like that I was the more exciting fighter to watch than he was. I didn't do that purposely, that's just how I fight. To my face he always had something good to say, but it was different when I wasn't around. Then I made the ‘Ultimate Fighter' and his guy Kenny (Stevens) made it with me, but Rich didn't make it. When I became successful, instead of congratulating me, he kept stabbing me in the back. I just got tired of it.... We got into a fistfight and I beat him up then. It's hurtful when you grow up and look up to somebody -- he was that guy I was looking up to and taking some advice from. Instead of him being a good role model, he gets jealous of my success."
"He walked up to me and I stuck out my hand out to shake his and he sucker punched me. I saw him later in Vegas and he apologized, but I said, 'This will be settled when it's settled my way.' I was really pushing this fight to happen."
Prior to his most recent appearance inside the Octagon -- a 27-second submission loss to Joe Stevenson at UFC Fight Night 9 in April -- Guillard was being talked about as a possible top 155-pound title contender.
It was a disappointing defeat; however, it was his positive test for cocaine after the bout that sent his star plummeting. Guillard served an eight-month suspension for the transgression and now has to prove that he belongs inside the eight-sided cage with this "second chance."
At least that's what it seems like, according to statements from UFC President Dana White in the article.
Here's a snip:
"Since Day 1, Melvin has had the talent. He's been a cross between a fighter and the guy who's a phony and just wants to be on TV. Melvin wants all the fame and status immediately. This kid gets bounced off the show and he was out partying like a rock star, like the thing was already on television -- acting like he was Mike Tyson or something. Melvin gets caught up in both. He's not afraid to fight anybody. He has all the skill and talent. The kid was flat broke when he came on the show. The next time I see him for the (TUF) Finale, he shows up with a diamond cross and all this bling already. I was like ‘O, geez. Here we go.' He has so much talent he doesn't have to try as hard as everybody else does. A lot of those guys end up wasting talent."
Guillard and Clementi are slated to appear on the televised portion of the main card during the pay-per-view (PPV) event that takes place live from the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Expect some fireworks.