By Jonathan Solomon
It has been a long time since Mac Danzig (21-10-1) debuted in the UFC by winning season six of “The Ultimate Fighter”. Nearly six years since then and he has racked up a 5-6 record in the promotion, aiming to even it up after he fights “The Young Assassin” Melvin Guillard this Saturday in Seattle, Washington at UFC on Fox 8.
The 33-year-old returns to action for the first time since falling short against former Pride FC superstar “The Fireball Kid” Takanori Gomi in China. “That was the first time I had fought in China and the first time I had traveled that far for a fight of my own,” Danzig told MMAOnline.com. “The fight was ok. I suppose I am a little hard on myself when I analyze my own fight. The decision was very close and lot of people thought it could have gone either way. I thought I did enough to win.“
“I wasn’t really happy with the way I fought because I feel like I should have finished that guy,” Danzig told UFC.com about the contest. “It was a good little scrap with Gomi and it’s nice to fight a guy who is a legend like that when he’s on top of his game doing his best.”
While Guillard is mired in a two-fight losing streak (and a stretch in which he’s 1-4 in his last five fights) and he has changed camps earlier this year, Danzig is confident all of that means little Saturday night. He told MMAOnline.com, “I realized I can’t dwell on the past even if it is just momentarily. Whatever happens even during the fight, I just have to live in the moment. You would think that with all the experience that I have and all the fights that I have, that I would have it figured out.”
As for how the avid photographer may earn his 22nd career victory on the FX portion of the show, Guillard has proven susceptible to submissions. Of his 12 losses, Melvin has been choked out on eight occasions and also finished via armbar for a total of nine defeats by tap out. Danzig has proven to be a confident grappler with nearly half of his wins coming by submission. Training out of R1 Gym in Los Angeles with Coach Rico Chiaparelli amongst a host of other notable coaches and sparring partners Danzig told MMAOnline.com “I am really fortunate to work with Rico. That guy is just on another level. I have been in this sport for I guess almost 13 years now and man, I have never met someone with his understanding of all things combat oriented. It would be a discredit to just praise his wrestling technique or something like that. He understands the full spectrum of things, the stand up, the ground, the wrestling. Not just the techniques, but the body mechanics, the full movements and then also the mental and emotional side of the whole thing.
“The Young Assassin” is also best known for having an aggressive offensive style in which he attempts to bombard opponents with powerful strikes. For Danzig to be successful, he says he cannot fall into a lull when facing such a competitor, “Melvin is always going to rely on his power and his speed. He has some good movement and it makes things hard for guys who just want to stand there and counter.”
Of late, Danzig has impressed UFC officials with his style whether they be in victories or defeats. Since December 2010, he’s been awarded official bonuses in three of his four bouts. His knockout of Joe Stevenson and his performances in two decision losses to Matt Wiman and Gomi earned him over $200,000 combined in bonuses alone.
“It is bitter sweet. I appreciate the bonuses that the UFC gives, but I would rather fight well on my own terms,” Danzig told MMAOnline.com. ”One of the “Fight of the Nights” I had in 2011, it was a really entertaining fight and I lost the split decision. And though I thought, “Ya, it was a good fight and it is great that people were entertained,” I felt like I really didn’t perform to my potential and that I got drawn in to a brawling type of match. It is one of those things you learn from. I do want to entertain the fans and I want to put on a good show, but not at the cost of winning or the cost of my career.”
There are not too many UFC lightweights who have been with the company for as long as Guillard (2005) or Danzig (2007), and though it’s taken them until 2013 to cross paths inside the octagon, Mac believes that by trusting in his abilities and preparation, he will be successful yet again.
“Performing to the best of my abilities and realizing my potential is what matters the most to me right now. The most important thing for me is living in the moment, fighting in the moment and doing it to the best of my abilities. If I can keep doing that, then great things are going to happen for me.”
Mac Danzig will attempt to defeat Melvin Guillard Saturday night, but win or lose, you can bet that he’ll be involved in one of the most exciting match-ups of the evening.
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