July 5, 2008. Guillard stops Dennis Siver in the first round. May 29, 2010. Guillard stops Waylon Lowe in the first round. January 22, 2011. Guillard stops Evan Dunham in the first round. July 2, 2011. Guillard stops Shane Roller in the first round.
Melvin Guillard was a mature fighter. A year and a half win streak proved it. Knocking out Dunham cemented it. Greg Jackson had changed him. He wasn't going to make stupid mistakes anymore. He wasn't hotheaded, he wasn't a reckless kid who'd lose to inferior fighters. Things were different now.
He'd always been talented, this was true. First round knockouts were his thing. Handing his opponent first-round submissions - that was his thing too. Burst in and fade out. But that was the past.
September 23, 2006. Guillard dominates Gabe Ruediger for the first few minutes. Ruediger nearly submits him. The clock runs out. September 16, 2009. Guillard dominates Nate Diaz for the first few minutes. Diaz does submit him.
Edgar and Maynard repeated a classic of a fight, except for the ending. Edgar changed that part of it. Guillard repeated himself too. He finished a streak of impressive wins with a bad submission loss to a supposedly inferior opponent. His ending was the same one it's always been.
April 5, 2007. Guillard rushes in and Joe Stevenson drops him. Guillotine choke. Twenty-seven seconds. October 8, 2011. Guillard rushes in and Joe Lauzon drops him. Rear naked choke. Forty-seven seconds.
There is something that makes great fighters great. Melvin doesn't have it. He's gotten better, as a fighter, in these last years with Jackson. He's refined his hands, he's added a hell of a knee, his throws and takedowns are better, his scrambles have improved... but he is still Melvin Guillard.
June 20, 2009. Guillard wins an uneventful, controversial decision over Gleison Tibau. February 6, 2010. Guillard wins an uneventful, controversial decision over Ronnys Torres. September 25, 2010. Guillard wins an uneventful, controversial decision over Jeremy Stephens.
Melvin is in many ways the opposite of Edgar. He starts quickly and drops off quicker. He's never had the heart to go deep into a fight. He doesn't know how to sustain his successes; when he tries to pace himself he turns into a bafflingly mediocre fighter. It's not his lack of skill. What he needs is intangible and unfixable.
Because you can't change him now. It's too late. Maybe in ten, twenty years he'll learn not to be so impatient. So reckless. Whatever it is that's held him back, maybe he'll overcome it, but his MMA career won't wait on him.
He's got five good years left if he's lucky. In those years he could become champion. It's not out of the question. Who'd be shocked if he managed to knock Edgar out? It's not a matter of skill. He has that. But if he makes it to the top, he'll teeter and fall. Because that's what Melvin does. Burst in and fade out.