- Brett Okamoto, ESPN Staff Writer
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DENVER -- With all six of his UFC losses coming by way of submission, Melvin Guillard has been exposed to his share of critics, who blast the lightweight for his deficiencies on the ground.
Guillard says those people are pretty silent, though, when he’s knocking guys out.
“I check my Twitter quite often, and some people have screen names that stick out,” Guillard said. “Leading up to the [Fabricio] Camoes fight, a lot of people were saying, ‘He’s going to get choked out and he’s a choke artist.’ Then as soon as I beat the guy, some of those same people were saying good things about me.
“Nobody is crying and complaining when I’m knocking guys out in the first round. People are going to ride the bandwagon. For me, it’s about going in there and doing what I do best. I didn’t come this long in the UFC submitting guys.”
Guillard (30-10-2) faces another strong grappler this weekend in former teammate Donald Cerrone. The two will meet in the co-main event of UFC 150.
He might not need his ground skills in this one, though. Cerrone (18-4) has promised fans a stand-up fight, despite acknowledging the risk that comes with that.
“Nobody wants to see people wrestle and roll around,” Cerrone said. “They want to see two guys throw down, and that’s what I like to do. High risk is more fun.”
Guillard, of course, would love nothing more than a stand-up fight but isn’t relying on Cerrone to keep his word. The longtime UFC veteran says he’s been thrown “under the bus” with high-level, jiu-jitsu black belts since January and his confidence has grown because of it.
“Everybody has an agreement until you get hit with that first hard shot,” Guillard said. “I’m expecting him to take me down, of course. He’s got good jiu-jitsu, but I train with great jiu-jitsu fighters.”
Guillard's spirits remain high, despite watching the free fall of his stock in the past 12 months.
In July 2011, Guillard was closing in on a title shot, having posted five straight wins, three of those via first-round knockout. Back-to-back losses to Joe Lauzon and Jim Miller quieted that title talk immensely.
That’s just fine with Guillard, who says he doesn't miss the pressure that comes with a win streak and a widely talked-about title run.
The way he sees it now, it’s not about the number of wins he can string together, but the quality of performances he can put together against competition such as Cerrone. He’s not going anywhere, and he’s certainly not listening to those critics.
“It’s better for me [that the title talk is gone] because there’s no pressure of chasing a title,” Guillard said. “The win streak, it was fun, but I don’t think anybody is getting on a win streak anymore. The 155-pound depth chart is so sick.
“It’s about picking fights. I want to put my mark on this weight class. Switching weight classes is not my thing. I’m a 155er. I know I can win at 155 and be a champion. I’m going to keep grinding.”