UFC lightweight Melvin Guillard recently left the Blackzilians training camp. He planned to return to Jackson’s MMA, but wasn’t welcomed back to his former team. Now, Guillard has found a home at Grudge Training Center in Colorado.
Guillard spoke with MMAWeekly.com content partner Knockout Radio about his departure from the Blackzilians, the situation with Team Jackson’s, and his future at Grudge.
“Ultimately what lead me to leave was just, I felt in my heart that I couldn't win with that team. They're a great group of guys, the coaches are world renowned, but the chemistry for me, there was no recipe for success,” said the 30-year-old fighter about his decision to part ways with the Blackzilians.
“When I step into a gym, I want to have a game plan all the way through. I want to see it through and I want to have coaches that will be on my side on my hip, day in and day out, and I didn't really have that with a lot of coaches there. The only coach that I have that relationship with physically right now is Dr. Ryan Tripp. He's my judo coach. So no matter what team I end up at, he's always going to be in my corner,” added Guillard.
“They're a great group of guys. They have so much talent on that team, but I just felt in my heart, me personally, that I couldn't win with that team. So I just had to move on,” he said. “It was a mutual understanding. I didn't get to say goodbye to all the guys, but I got to talk with Glenn (Robinson), who is the owner. I got to talk with some of the coaches there and I just felt it was time for Melvin to move on and look for something bigger and better.”
Guillard made the announcement about his leaving the Blackzilian camp on March 24 via Twitter. Included in the tweet was his intention of returning to Team Jackson-Winkeljohn. To his surprise, he was not welcomed back to the team he left following his first round submission loss to Joe Lauzon at UFC 136 in October 2011.
“That was a little bit of a slap in the face right there,” explained Guillard. “I was excited about that and I honestly thought that's where I was going to end up and I started seeing tweets seeing they voted me out and this and that.”
Guillard reached out to Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone to get to the bottom of why he wasn’t allowed to return.
“If you want real truth and the truth of everything, you always call Cowboy (Donald Cerrone). I reached out to Cowboy and he said yeah a couple people voted against it, a lot of people were for it. But then I talked to Coach Greg eventually and he said some of the guys were on a different page and maybe in the future, if we can get some of those guys back on the same page, then they have no problem with me coming back then, but now is just not a good time,” he said.
“Those were the words of Coach Greg Jackson and I took it on the chin; it was cool. It hurt my feelings a little bit, but at the same time, it was nobody's fault but my own. I left Jackson's and I think my timing was so bad. I left during a time that was so bad. I left during the time when Jon Jones and Rashad Evans were beefing and they were fighting and it was almost like, if you were outside looking in, you would definitely say you chose Rashad over Jon. That's how I made myself look and I understand how they felt. So it's no big deal.”
Guillard is now training at the Grudge Training Center in Colorado, an affiliate gym to Jackson’s MMA, under the guidance of head trainer Trevor Wittman.
“Being here in Denver, it's the next best thing to being at Jackson's, if not the best thing for me. God always has something in store for everybody and I just think right now me landing in Denver is probably what he had in store for me. There's no love lost to Jackson's. I still care about those guys the same way,” Guillard added.
Guillard doesn’t feel the relationship between the two camps will present any problems.
“We sat down and talked for about an hour and we laid everything out on the table. (Wittman) is here to help me. I'm here to get better, and I'm here to help this team get better as well, so I know there won't be any problems with that,” he said.
At the end of the day, Guillard is happy to be at Grudge, but feels there’s things that still need to be resolved between himself and Jackson’s MMA.
“I still feel like I left a piece of me in Albuquerque. There's some personal things in Albuquerque I need to fix before, definitely before I go back to the team anyway. So with that being said, I'm happy with where I'm at. My wife is happy for me and if me and my wife are on the same page, then I'm fine with whatever decision I make.”