Melvin Guillard doesn't want to go the way of George Sotiropoulos, Anthony Pettis and Evan Dunham.
Last year was a horror show for those guys. On the verge of getting a title shot, all three suffered a loss or two that sent that sent them tumbling down the lightweight ladder.
Guillard faces Jim Miller tomorrow night on FX (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT), with both fighters facing the same fate if they lose - at least another year before they sniff a title shot.
Guillard (29-9-2, 10-5 UFC) was hot as a pistol before UFC 136 in October, but lost his shot at Frank Edgar with a 47 second submission loss at the hands of Joe Lauzon. He knows this Miller fight is make or break time.
"It was kinda dumb, but I am young enough to learn as long as realize the mistake. I made the mistake, it didn't just happen," Guilard said referencing the loss to Lauzon. "I know that but I also know I'm still one of the best fighters in the division. But I am ready for this fight with Miller. He's a top guy, maybe the No. 3 or No. 4 in the division, and if I perform like I can do, I think it will be hard for people to say that I didn't deserve a UFC title shot."
Guillard is managing the delicate balance between fighter under control, but not losing his explosiveness
"It's not going to affect my style of fight, just so you guys know. I'm still going to go in and be the fast, explosive kid that I am. But right now, I just want to stay focused and grounded," said Guillard.
Miller is no easy prey and he enters the fight with the same motivation. He's coming off a rough loss to Ben Henderson. Miller (20-3, 9-2 UFC) fought with a flawed strategy and got lit up by Henderson, who locked up a title shot with the victory.