The former training partners meet in the co-main event of UFC 150 in Denver. The show will be headlined by the lightweight-title rematch between Benson Henderson and Frankie Edgar.
Guillard admitted he struggled against Cerrone in the gym, but said he’s improved since their last sparring session almost one year ago.
“Donald’s a good friend of mine,” Guillard said. “It’s just business. But just because it’s business doesn’t mean we’re not going to beat each other up.
“We beat each other up in the gym and a lot of people keep asking me who got the best of who. Well, just so everybody knows, Donald got the best of me quite often.
“But I’m a bit of a different fighter now and I’m expecting the best Donald Cerrone there is.”
Though Guillard no longer trains at Jackson-Winkeljohn Mixed Martial Arts, Cerrone admitted he distanced himself from his long-time camp out of respect for his opponent.
“Melvin and I trained together with Greg, but I kind of went away from Greg for this fight and did my own thing,” Cerrone said. “I didn’t want Melvin to think Greg was giving me all of his secrets. This fight between Melvin and I is nothing but professional.
“(Jackson will) definitely be in my corner, but I just haven’t been training with him for the last four weeks.”
Guillard admitted the gesture was appreciated, but not necessary.
“I don’t lie when I say ‘Cowboy’ is a standup guy,” Guillard said. “He didn’t have to do that. I was expecting him to be training with coach Greg and possibly coach (Winkeljohn).
“But like I said, we haven’t trained together since last October. I know he’s a great, fast learner and he knows how fast I learn and pick up on things. I don’t think we’re going to be the same guys we were when we were sparring partners.”
With 66 combined professional fights, neither man has ever been knocked out. Both fighters like to stand and trade strikes, but the majority of Cerrone’s victories have come via submission.
Guillard said he’s aiming to be the first to knock Cerrone out.
“He can try,” Cerrone said. “He can give it all he wants. I don’t give a s---. Go ahead. They all try to knock me out.
“I don’t give it any thought, bro. I don’t read anything or look up anything, I just go out there and fight ... I don’t give it any energy. Zero. I don’t even know what Melvin’s training or what he’s got coming up — zero energy.”
Though Cerrone is excited about fighting Guillard, he was originally gunning for fight with Anthony Pettis. However, the former WEC lightweight champion is still on the mend after undergoing shoulder surgery.
After Cerrone called out Pettis on a recent conference call for “ducking” the fight, Pettis responded by saying he’d be more than happy to meet Cerrone if he gets past Guillard.
“F--- Anthony Pettis. That’s all I’ve got to say about him,” Cerrone responded. “I’ve been trying to fight that b---- forever and now all of a sudden I have another fight and he wants to start talking back. I’ve been trying to fight him for f---ing two years.
“I really don’t have much to say except f--- Anthony Pettis right now. I’m going to get through this fight with Melvin and and then I’ll worry about him.”
Though Melvin Guillard and Donald Cerrone hold a combined 66 professional fights, they only have three common opponents.
Lost unanimous decision to Cerrone
Lost split decision to Guillard
Won unanimous decision over Cerrone
Won via submission over Guillard
Lost via submission to Cerrone
Lost via TKO to Guillard
CRO COP EYES RETURN
You can take the dog out of the fight, but you can’t take the fight out of the dog.
Less than a year after retiring from MMA competition, Mirko (Cro Cop) Filipovic is aiming at a return to the cage.
Following a TKO loss to Roy Nelson at UFC 137 in October, the 2006 PRIDE grand prix champion returned to kickboxing for the first time in almost nine years. He has since won consecutive fights against Ray Sefo and Loren Javier Jorge.
Filipovic is set to compete in the 2012 K-1 world grand prix, but plans on returning to MMA once the tournament has concluded.
“Concerning my retirement from the UFC, I said it was my last fight for the UFC and last fight on the present contract, but I did not say, ‘I won’t keep fighting,’” Filipovic told USA TODAY Sports. “I never said that. I think the best thing to say is that I was born to fight.”
HIERON STEPS IN FOR KOSCHECK
Jay Hieron is set return to the UFC after almost seven years away from the promotion.
MMA Junkie is reporting the Xtreme Couture welterweight will step in as a late replacement against Jake Ellenberger at UFC 151 in Las Vegas on Sept. 1. Hieron signed on after Josh Koscheck was forced off the card due to a bulging disc in his back.
The former NCAA Division I wrestler and IFL champion has won 11 of his past 12 fights. His sole loss during this run came via close split decision to Bellator welterweight titleholder Ben Askren.
Hieron came up empty handed in his two previous UFC outings. His promotional debut saw him suffer a vicious TKO loss to Georges St. Pierre at UFC 48 on June 19, 2004. He returned 16 months later, losing to Jonathan Goulet due to a nasty cut in one of the bloodiest fights in UFC history.
CUT KNOCKS OUT RORY
A deep laceration has forced Rory MacDonald out his scheduled fight against B.J. Penn at UFC 152 in Toronto on Sept. 22.
MacDonald required 38 stitches after suffering a cut above his right eyebrow during training.
The bout remains in limbo for now, but Penn is lobbying for the two to meet at UFC 153 in Rio de Janeiro on Oct. 13. Conversely, MacDonald is pushing for UFC 154 in Montreal on Nov. 17.
MacDonald’s trainer Firas Zahabi told Fighter’s Only Magazine the earlier option simply isn’t doable.
“A cut is a cut, but 38 stitches is a massive cut,” Zahabi said. “It’s not a regular cut where you get 10 or 12 stitches and it heals after a few weeks. This is a massive cut, it went internal, all the way to the bone. So you could see the bone of his skull after he got cut.
“That’s why there are so many stitches — 38 over three layers. That’s why he can’t even have any contact at all for one month — can’t even drill. After a month he can start technical movements — armlocks and toeholds on the ground, wrestling manoeuvres — but he can’t get punched.
“It will be another month a half before we put a headgear on him. And by put a headgear on him I mean making him box. Because if we get another punch on it, it’s going to reopen. So it will be a while before we can get the headgear on him.”
JOSE RODRIGUEZ’S RANT
Dear media member (yours truly included): Stop asking the damn question.
Frankie (The Answer) Edgar will not be dropping down to the 145-pound class regardless of what happens this weekend when he gets his lightweight title rematch with champ Benson Henderson.
“I’m tired of answering it but seems no one is tired of asking it,” said the 14-2-1 New Jersey native.
“I’m fighting for the lightweight title in a few days and I’ve been the lightweight champ for almost two years before I lost it. That’s all I’m focusing on right now.”
Edgar — who lost the belt to Henderson at Japan’s UFC 144 in February — admits he doesn’t need to cut weight to make the 155 lbs. lightweight mark and fully realizes he is the shortest guy in the class.
That doesn’t make a difference to the big-hearted wrestling standout.
“I’m used to sparring and training with guys that are bigger than me,” says Edgar who will headline UFC 150 from the Pepsi Center on Saturday night.
“I’ve been at this weight class for a while. My whole career. Most of the guys I fight are bigger.”
All that said, should he lose Saturday’s fight, there is a good chance the first question he will field will be whether he will drop down to featherweight for a potential date with champ Jose Aldo.
His answer may be different depending on what happens in Denver.