melvingJust over one year ago a young fighter with enormous potential was arrested and put his professional career in jeopardy. He had a substance abuse problem which led to previous time in jail, a suspension from fighting, and a lot of people talking about what could have been. This was the ongoing, troubled life of Melvin Guillard.

His latest arrest, back in August of 2008, ultimately would alter his outlook on life. He was sentenced to a five month rehabilitation program and for the moment, seems to have his life back on track.

On Monday, Melvin Guillard opened up on his changed lifestyle during a conference call promoting UFC Fight Night 19, explaining, “The turning point for me was when I had to sit in a rehab – which to me which was jail – I had to sit there for six months. Those six months gave me time to miss my family. I missed my wife. I missed the sport. I’d just sit there all the time night and day just thinking about, ‘Man, I hope and pray Dana and them understand what’s going on and I still have a job when I get out.”

His apologies were answered when he was granted a fight against Gleison Tibau for the The Ultimate Fighter 9 finale, which he won by split decision. This extended a win streak for Guillard to three fights dating back to March of 2008.

He credits his new found sobriety as the turning point in his life and sees himself as a new, more mature Melvin Guillard.

“I feel reborn again,” said Melvin. “Me and my wife will be married for a year Oct. 27. I’ve always learned growing up that you don’t how the good times are unless you endured the bad…I just don’t look at any of the bad things anymore. I just want to keep moving forward, keep progressing in the sport, and hopefully someday be a world champion. It’s pretty much the new, mature Melvin. I have no bad blood with any fighter other than Rich Clementi. I’m already to the age now where I’m 26, I’ve aged overnight. I had to grow up overnight if I wanted to continue to be successful in this sport. I have no problems with Nate.”

It remains to be seen if Guillard can continue on his straight path and make an impact in the UFC lightweight division, but it’s worth noting a determined and focused Guillard is a step in the right direction.