Just a few months ago it looked like Melvin Guillard was going to walk casually into the lightweight title picture, knocking out everyone he could get his hands on along the way.
Then, Joe Lauzon’s underrated striking caught “The Young Assassin” off guard and soon after he was on the ground getting choked out for the fifth time of his UFC career.
Last night’s fight with Jim Miller was a must win for Guillard if he wanted to remain relevant in the 155-lb title discussion, and for a few seconds it looked like he was going to dispose of the extremely tough veteran with little difficulty anyway.
But to Miller’s credit, his chin and his heart have more strength than most fighters, and he was able to survive the rocky moments and eventually take Guillard’s back.
Once Miller secured the hooks and got the arm under the neck, it became painfully obvious that Guillard was about to suffer yet another submission loss.
The loss puts Guillard in an awkward position in the lightweight division, and while he is no longer in title contention, he is still good enough to deserve a high level opponent and should get another tough fight in his next bout.
Another fighter that is coming off a loss at the worst possible time, Donald Cerrone was smashing his way through the division before getting upset by Nate Diaz at UFC 141.
These two formerly trained together at Greg Jackson’s gym, but with Guillard’s recent move to Imperial Athletics the fight shouldn’t be a problem.
Cerrone is one of the toughest fights imaginable for Guillard, as he has some of the best striking in the division along with a good ju jitsu base, but Guillard’s one punch knockout power gives him a chance in any fight.
The outspoken lightweight, who is more well known for his current beef with the President than his actual fighting career, is actually nearing the point where he deserves a step up in competition after defeating his last five UFC opponents.
Guillard’s takedown defense has improved over the years, but it would be interesting to see if it is good enough to stop the technical superiority of Volkmann’s wrestling.
Volkmann himself has been asking for a step up in competition, and a fight against Guillard certainly fits the bill.
The winner of The Ultimate Fighter 13, Tony Ferguson has been on a role since leaving the show, taking out skilled veterans Aaron Riley and Yves Edwards in his last two bouts.
Ferguson has shown that he has some serious talent in the striking department and a matchup with Guillard would be an exciting co-main event for a future FX or Fuel TV card.
This one would likely be a memorable slugfest until one of the fighters were laid out unconscious on the mat, but I doubt anyone is going to be complaining about that.
Once teammates at Greg Jackson’s camp, Guillard and Guida are once again in the same spot in the lightweight division.
A few months ago people were calling for the two of them to fight in order to determine the next contender for Frankie Edgar’s belt, but tough losses have pushed them back into gatekeeper status for the moment.
This fight would be an old school grappler vs. striker kind of matchup, but it would be entertaining due to the two very large personalities involved.
Whoever won this fight would be in great position to make one more run at the title in 2012.
A fight between Sam Stout and Guillard would promise to be one of the best striking battles of the year and has the potential to be a three-round war.
The Canadian striker recently dropped a heartbreakingly close decision to Thiago Tavares at UFC 142 in Brazil, and Stout desperately needs to get a win over a big name opponent to avoid being stuck in the middle tier of UFC lightweights again.
Guillard would be a good test to see if Stout has what it takes to hang with the Top 10 in the division, and Stout’s granite chin makes him almost impossible for even Guillard to take out.