It’s been several months since Melvin Guillard left his old team at the Blackzilians and started looking for a new direction away from the upstart Florida based squad.
Eventually, Guillard landed at close by American Top Team where he’s been training for his last two fights, but he’ll see a familiar face this weekend when he matches up with former teammate Michael Johnson at UFC Fight Night London.
Guillard and Johnson were two of the founding members when the Blackzilians first took shape a couple of years ago. While most fighters will tell you that they detest the idea of facing a friend or teammate, Guillard makes it clear that is not the case when he takes on Johnson this weekend.
"Let’s get this straight – me and Michael Johnson was never really friends," Guillard told FOX Sports. "We was just training partners. We were never friends, we never hung out, we never shot marbles together, we didn’t go out to eat together or anything. I only seen him at the gym and after that, I went my way, he went his way."
I never really cared for Michael Johnson. I think he’s just one of those guys who grew up scared of people and then he learned how to fight somewhere along the way
— Melvin Guillard
If there appears to be animosity bubbling under the surface based on Guillard’s statement, you’d be correct. The former Ultimate Fighter season 2 competitor revealed that Johnson apparently had a falling out with a friend and teammate, who moved to Florida specifically to train with him at the Blackzilians. According to Guillard, Johnson ushered the fighter’s exit from the camp as well, and that never sat right with him.
"I never really cared for him as a person. I think he’s a good fighter, but as a person when you move your friend down here and then throw your friend under the bus and get him kicked off the team, which is a guy who is trying to build his career, I think that’s kind of sh–ty as a friend," Guillard said. "How could you call yourself a friend that you did that to one of the guys, Andrew Whitney, who is now a part of American Top Team.
"I never really cared for Michael Johnson. I think he’s just one of those guys who grew up scared of people and then he learned how to fight somewhere along the way. Him playing gangster, I can look right through that kid. He ain’t no gangster."
Guillard may not care for Johnson on a personal level, but he won’t discount what his former training partner can do in the cage.
Since the two of them have sparred and worked out together in the past, Guillard believes he has a good idea what Johnson can bring to the table when they fight. The Louisiana native has been here before when he had to face former teammate Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone in 2012.
The difference in this fight is Guillard doesn’t believe he has nearly as much to worry about with Johnson.
"Will I sit here and say Michael Johnson ever got the best of me in sparring? Hell no, he never got the best of me in sparring, that never happened. Guys like Cowboy (Cerrone), when I used to spar with Cowboy, I would have to take a knee. He’d hit me in a spot where I’d have to take a knee. I’ve never sparred with Michael Johnson and he made me take a knee or put me down on the mat," Guillard said. "I’m not saying that trash talking, I’m just saying we had some pretty gruesome sparring matches, but if I was to say who got the better of each other I’d say about 80-percent of the time I got the best of him."
The odds are also on Guillard’s side given the way he’s dealt with left handed fighters in the past.
"I’ve knocked out eight of eight southpaws that I’ve fought. Michael Johnson will be the ninth," Guillard said.
Nobody wants to fight me
— Melvin Guillard
While Guillard has experienced some serious ups and downs in his career over the last few years, he feels like he’s finally found a great home with American Top Team and he’s ready to get back to the place where he was a potential No. 1 contender for the lightweight title just seven fights ago.
The next message he’ll send to the division comes by way of beating Michael Johnson this weekend.
"I’m any fighters in the game right now kryptonite. Nobody wants to fight me," Guillard said. "In the back of his mind he’s probably like ‘damn, I’ve really got to fight Melvin Guillard’. I’m just going to call it like that and I’ll say that to anybody. I’m not an easy fight for anybody."