Flash back a couple years ago and you’d find Donald Cerrone and Melvin Guillard kicking and punching each other in a fighter’s gym in the middle of Albuquerque, N.M.
They were teammates at Jackson’s MMA, sweating alongside each other, helping one another prepare for their upcoming battles.
Cerrone has remained a staple of the Jackson’s camp, but Guillard has since moved on to find a different take on things to help him refocus his career, putting down roots with the Blackzilians in Florida.
On Aug. 11 at UFC 150: Henderson vs. Edgar II, Cerrone and Guillard will once again be kicking and punching each other, only this time it will be for the benefit of a paycheck at the end of the day.
But despite being on different teams at opposite ends of the United States now, there is no animosity. This is not a Jon Jones vs. Rashad Evans feud spewing with venom.
Cerrone and Guillard remain friends. This is a simple business proposition for them.
“This fight between Melvin and I is nothing but professional, no personal beef or nothing,” Cerrone told MMAWeekly.com on Friday.
“Before I signed the contract, I was able to talk to Donald on the phone and we both agreed that hey, let's go do this, let's go get Fight of the Night,” Guillard added.
Actually, just saying that the two are still friends could be understating the situation.
Guillard and his wife have actually spent time out at Cerrone’s ranch in New Mexico.
“The one thing I respect about Donald is he's always been straight up. He's like family,” Guillard explained. “Right now, it's just business, but that doesn't mean we're not gonna beat each other up.”
It may be “just business” for both of them, but the admiration between them runs deep, so much so that Cerrone spent much of his camp away from Jackson’s. He picked up and returned to Vail, Colo., where he first started preparing for his mixed martial arts career. There he trained with his old coaches and took advantage of conditioning by running up the ski slopes that range in altitude from more than 8,000 feet high to well over 11,000 feet.
A large part of that temporary move, however, had to do with the fact that he didn’t want Guillard to think he was taking advantage of his past teammate.
“I kind of went away from Greg on this fight a little bit and just trained my own thing. I didn't want Melvin to think that Greg was giving me all his secrets and whatnot,” said Cerrone.
“So I just went away, went up to Vail to get my conditioning in order; ready to make some money.”
Friendship or not, fireworks are to be expected on Aug. 11 at the Pepsi Center in Denver. Both Cerrone and Guillard no only one way to fight: moving straight forward, full-bore.
So don’t expect anything less than Cerrone and Guillard living up to their promise of gunning for the UFC 150 Fight of the Night.