“You want a piece of this, blondie?!”
If you thought Melvin Guillard’s typically modest and self-deprecating statements after smoking Evan Duham last weekend were eyeroll worthy, he was talking that kind of shit even before scoring the highest-profile win of his career. He made the rounds on a few internet radio shows in the weeks prior, including “Pro MMA Radio” where he had some things to say about Dunham’s originally-planned opponent, perennial contender Kenny Florian. Well guess who was on the same show this week? That’s right, Mr. Florian.
Since I’m a for-reals blogger now (or whatever we call ourselves around here), I made myself actually listen to the show rather than just copy-pasting a transcript from another site. Journalism is hard! It’s an okay podcast once you get past the awful monster-truck-announcer intros, shitty supplement ads, the host’s tendency to talk at/over his guests, and the audio that sounds like even he’s calling in to his own show. Anyway, he played a clip for Kenny where Melvin said:
“Them giving me the Dunham fight was a blessing in disguise, and I also feel that that fight was more deserving to me anyway. I felt I should have been in that spot before Kenny Florian. Kenny Florian had his shot, he had his chance, he had several chances, and he’s blown it. Let some of us other 55’ers have our chance, we work just as hard as those guys, why should those guys always get the title shot?”
It’s an opinion that I’m sure many fighters and fans share, and it’s certainly not as provoking as when he said on CagePotato’s “Bum Rush” show that Florian isn’t a top contender anymore and would be “a pretty easy fight for me.” But it was enough to make even Kenny’s well-practiced TV-voice sound just a wee bit pissed as he laid down a measured rant in response.
“It doesn’t really make sense. It’s about who the best fighter is. It’s not about someone’s working hard, there’s a lot of guys working hard. I was working hard before, but I didn’t get a shot before. It’s nothing to do with that, it’s who the best fighter is. If Melvin thinks he deserves a shot over me, then he should fight me and beat me. It’s not about that. I’ve lost twice for the belt, once very early on, maybe I had four fights in the UFC at the time, maybe less, three fights in the UFC, and I got a shot early on. I got another shot against BJ which I didn’t obviously win. But it’s always about who the best fighter is. I feel that as far as Melvin’s concerned, who has he beaten? What has he done to deserve the shot, the main event? This last fight, finally, after beating Evan Dunham, yeah he deserves it. That’s great that he’s finally considered a top contender, but he wasn’t considered a top contender before. You have to beat name guys, you have to beat world-class guys. Losing to Joe Stevenson in the first round in a minute isn’t gonna get you that shot. Losing to Nate Diaz by guillotine choke early on isn’t gonna get you that shot. You have to be consistent. Melvin’s not losing to the top of the division like I am, he’s losing to guys that are middle of the pack. He has to separate himself from the pack, and finally he’s done it against Evan Dunham. If he feels I don’t deserve it, knock me out the division, give me another loss, let’s do that.”
While Kenny allows that Guillard has now proven himself as a contender with the Dunham win, hearing this kind of stuff from Melvin and others “makes my blood boil.” Not only would he take the Guillard fight, he’ll face “anybody and everybody who’s very good,” including Anthony Pettis, George Sotiropoulos, and Jim Miller.
Florian also talked about how featherweight champ Jose Aldo turned down a fight with him, apparently on the basis that he’s never been the champion. When asked if he thought that was an odd reason, Kenny showed why he’s an analyst for ESPN when he dropped this truth-bomb:
“For his first fight at ’55, I think it would’ve been a tough fight for me, and there would’ve been a lot on the table for him to lose, because he’s going against a guy who just lost to Gray Maynard… and it would’ve been a tough style matchup for him as well, I think. I think they were probably looking for Frankie, because he’s a little bit smaller 55’er, and he has nothing to lose if he fights Frankie Edgar. If he fights the ’55 champ, well the guy’s the champ at ’55, he has nothing to lose. If he loses to me, he looks bad.”
With Florian healing well from his knee injury and about to restart training soon, he could be ready to hit the cage in late spring or early summer… about the same time as Melvin would likely be up for his next fight. So did Melvin Guillard just talk himself into a match with a top contender? He very well might have, and why not? That fight makes sense for both of them, despite what Melvin and his ego thinks.