Melvin Guillard has been a fan favorite in mixed martial arts (MMA) for nearly a decade. "The Young Assassin" may have left his old stomping grounds in Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), but the knockout artist's MMA career is still thriving in World Series of Fighting (WSOF).
Coming off a sensational (technical) knockout victory over Gesias Cavalcante in his WSOF debut back in July, Guillard will fight lightweight prospect and undefeated WSOF champion Justin Gaethje in the co-main event of WSOF 15 this Saturday (Nov. 15, 2014) at the USF Sun Dome in Tampa, Florida.
Prior to his altercation with his former training partner, Guillard sat down with MMAmania.com to give some scathing remarks regarding his former employer's choices in signing fighters, while also taking a verbal shot at the WSOF champion, as well.
"Gaethje is nowhere near my level." Guillard emphatically stated. "I'm an A list fighter, fighting in the B league."
When asked to clarify whether or not he hopes to return to the Octagon someday, Guillard noted that being a UFC fighter is not as special as it was back in 2005.
"I consider myself to be a hybrid, and there a lot of hybrids in the UFC, but there are also a lot of fakes in the UFC now too. I remember back in '05 it was difficult to get in the UFC. Even off The Ultimate Fighter it was tough. Out of the 16 guys on my season, a lot of guys never got their chance in the UFC afterwards."
"Now it seems they are just throwing any and everybody in the UFC," Guillard continued. "They are giving everybody a chance to be a UFC fighter. I wanted to be a UFC fighter when I was 13 years old, but it felt like a special group of guys back then. It was almost like a fraternity of only guys good enough to be in the UFC. It doesn't feel like that anymore."
Guillard then turned his attention to his own team, American Top Team, noting that novice fighters right next to him are getting chances at the UFC perhaps a bit too soon.
"Every time you turn around there is a different guy in the UFC. I train at American Top Team in Coconut Creek and there are a bunch of guys right now that are on my team, and some of them I know and some I don't, but every time I ask them when is your next fight, they say 'Oh, the next UFC card' and I say 'Really? Okay.' But you look at these guys and you've never even heard of them before making it to the UFC. It is getting a little weird man."
UFC has been criticized for a far too busy schedule, which often leads them to singing fighters that otherwise may never have gotten their shot if the promotion had half the shows they are currently running each year.
"In the beginning it was cool to be a part of something great and unique. I was part of something that not everybody could be a part of. I can't just go jump on a football team and turn pro for the Miami Dolphins or New Orleans Saints. That just don't happen. I feel as a fighter the UFC is starting to let way too many guys get that opportunity to get even one play, one chance inside the Octagon."
Guillard continued his rant with a poignant thought on fighter talent and quality in the world's leading MMA promotion.
"I think it is happening a lot in MMA, and I think it is a part of what is hurting our sport. A lot of these guys get a chance, lose and you never hear from them again. Honestly, that's because they didn't deserve their chance to be their in the first place."
Melvin is not one to point out a problem without a solution, however, and he had some advice for Dana White and the ZUFFA overlords when it comes to signing MMA talent.
"If a guy comes into the UFC, his first fight should be against somebody that's been in the UFC for like five years. Like Dana said on the show 'Do you really want to be a UFC fighter?' Then fight the best."
We will see if Guillard can earn a spot back on the crowded UFC roster with a big win over Justin Gaethje this weekend in Tampa.