Despite Guillard's unranked status, Johnson is expecting a tough bout, speaking to MMAJunkie Radio, Johnson said, "Melvin's still dangerous, he's still one of the best guys in the division. He's been around for a while, and it's just another fight that interests me. To tell you the truth, this is a more of a tricky and more of a dangerous fight than Khabib. Khabib doesn't have knockout power, and Melvin does."
Guillard's 20 career knockout victories back up Johnson's statement. Nurmagomedov has seven knockout wins on his resume.
Another reason Johnson expects a tough fight from his UFC Fight Night 37 opponent is due to where Guillard currently stands in the lightweight rankings, "I would think he wants it a little more, he's a little more hungry. He's trying to get back to where he was not too long ago, and now he's got to go through me to get to that."
An added wrinkle to this contest is that the two fighters were once teammates with the Blackzilians. Guillard left the team in early 2013 and is currently training with American Top Team after an aborted attempt to rejoin Jackson's MMA and a short stint at Grudge Training Center.
Johnson said that two never got along while they were teammates, a fact that Guillard seemed to confirm when he tweeted:
As for Johnson lets get it. Its more fun when you don't like someone. So ill be the first to put it out there. I say what others are afraid
— Melvin Guillard (@Young__Assassin) January 23, 2014
Johnson was asked about the differences the two had. His response, "I let Melvin run his mouth. He's crazy in the head, something's wrong with him. He sees things that really don't happen, but that's fine. He can say he doesn't like me.
We never really got along; we weren't the best of friends, but on the team I was always there to help him any time he wanted, and he just said he doesn't like me, but when he was on the team I did nothing but support him and try and help him succeed. Now, he's off the team, and we have to fight and he can run his mouth all he wants to, but once the cage closes, no more talking after that."