Whenever an MMA fighter claims that he’s one of the best fighters in the division, he basically paints a large target on his back. By inviting this kind of competition, the fighter opens himself up to a host of challengers willing to take him up on his offer. After his dominating performance over Evan Dunham at the recent ufc event “Fight for the Troops 2”, Lightweight veteran Melvin Guillard made just such a claim. And already one high-profile Lightweight is stepping up to the plate and challenging Guillard to live up to his word: former two-time championship contender Kenny Florian.
Here’s what “KenFlo” had to say over at Pro MMA Radio, with transcription courtesy of MMA Mania: “It doesn’t make sense… If Melvin thinks he deserves a shot over me, he should fight me and beat me… Who has he beaten? What has he done? …Losing to Joe Stevenson in the first round isn’t gonna get you that shot. You have to be consistent… I would take that fight.”
I think Kenny Florian makes an interesting point about Guillard, although I also think he’s being a bit too harsh on the man. In a way, Florian tossed some stones while inside a glass house with his comments about Guillard. It’s a valid point to bring up Guillard losing high-profile fights, like the one he lost to Joe Stevenson. That loss was definitely one of the fights that set the precedent that Guillard only comes close but never fully realizes the dream of being a world-class competitor, a precedent that Guillard has been trying his hardest to shatter in his last several outings.
But if you bring up that point, you also have to bring up that Florian’s record is spotty against top-flight competition too. Dana White landed himself in a large amount of controversy (which is nothing new for the UFC President, let’s be honest) when he famously said, “Kenny Florian chokes in big fights”. Some people fiercely disagreed, others fully sided with White’s statement. I think the reason Dana’s comments became so controversial is that you really can make a case, however small, for Kenny Florian not being able to reach that championship level no matter how many opportunities he gets.
This is why I think this would be an excellent fight for both men. Both men are more or less faced with the same dilemma: they’re consistently marketable and always dependable for a good fight, but every time they get a good win-streak going, someone comes along and spoils it in a big way. If Florian beats Guillard, it would keep Florian alive as a top-division athlete. If Guillard beats Florian, Guillard will officially ascend to the level of a top-division athlete. Either way, one of them would gain a huge amount of credibility and championship relevancy if he was able to beat the other.
And who would win in a fight between Kenny Florian and Melvin Guillard? That’s a very good question. Florian’s ground game is under-rated, but he does struggle against powerful wrestlers: his losses to Sean Sherk and Gray Maynard are proof positive. Nevertheless, Florian has ten wins by submission and Guillard’s biggest weakness is undoubtedly his submission defense: seven of Guillard’s eight losses have come by way of submission. It would definitely be a very interesting fight between two dynamic Lightweights, so I do hope this match comes to fruition.
And what about you, fans and friends? What are your thoughts on a possible showdown between Kenny Florian and Melvin Guillard?