In the co-main event of UFC Fight Night 37 in London, England UFC lightweight vet Melvin Guillard fell short again on getting his career back on track. Up and coming lightweight Michael Johnson defeated Guillard by unanimous decision. That loss was Guillard's fifth in his last eight fights.
Guillard has long been recognized as one of the most athletically gifted fighters in the UFC and at the young age of 30, Guillard should be entering the prime of his career.
In 2011, Guillard was on a five-fight win streak with a chance at the UFC lightweight championship within his grasp. Guillard walked into UFC 136 to face Joe Lauzon and secure his spot in the race for a title shot. Forty-seven seconds into the fight Guillard's win streak and title hopes were gone. That loss seemed to be the beginning of a downward spiral to a promising career.
Guillard entered the UFC as a cast member for the second season of the Ultimate Fighter. While his attempt at the Ultimate Fighter crown came up very short, Guillard was still considered a top prospect with plenty of potential. That potential unfortunately did not seem to include submission defense as Guillard would go 6-4 over his next ten fights but all four losses came by way of submission.
On top of Guillard's in cage struggles, he has also struggled to find a fit when it comes to training camps. While it is not uncommon for fighters to move camps to change things up on occasion, Guillard has been a part of three different camps in two years. Guillard left Jackson's Submission Fighting for the Florida based Blackzilians noting the fact that at Jackson's he was not getting the proper amount of attention that he needed from the coaches. He then left the Blackzilians for Team Grudge before finally settling with American Top Team.
Can Guillard turn things around? He has to find a more balanced approach in the cage. Guillard seems to have went from explosive and quick to cautious and plotting. During his fight with Johnson he spent most of the fight circling away and moving backwards. He fought a fairly timid fight which is a complete turn around from fast paced style that led to an 8-1 record from 2008 to mid 2011.
It would not be surprising to see Guillard looking for a spot on another roster following this loss and that may be the best thing for him. Guillard does have an abundance of cage miles but he is still relatively young. He could step down to Bellator or World Series and string together three or four wins all the while fine tuning his game.
However, perhaps Guillard will live to fight another day in the UFC.
“There’s no doubt Melvin ran the entire fight and was incredibly passive, the complete opposite of how he used to fight. There was a lot of smack talk leading up to that fight, and those are the fights that everybody gets excited about, and nine times out of 10 they end up like tonight. Those drive me crazy," UFC president Dana White said during the UFC Fight Night 37 press-conference.
UFC Fight Night 37 took place in London, England's O2 Arena and aired live on the UFC Fight Pass.