We had Melvin on last week’s episode of The Bum Rush Radio Show and he had some interesting things to say about the affect of his move to Team Jackson, his plans for 2011, his desire to be on TUF again and how overrated he thinks Kenny Florian is.
Check out what the self-dubbed "More Mature Assassin" had to say after the jump.
On how much training in Albuquerque with Team Jackson has helped his career:
"I credit, really, 90 percent [of my recent success to my move to Team Jackson]. When you really look at it I come from a great team with great coaching staff; everybody is family and it’s felt like a family since I came here. I actually spend more time with them than I do with my real family. As far as my performance in the cage and everything, I give all that to my coaches. My last three fights I listened so well to my cornermen, when they call something, I just pull the trigger. It’s like having a wireless robot. I’m the robot and they got the joystick. That’s kind of how I treat it. I give a lot of credit for my success, not only to the coaches, but also to all the guys in the gym who help me get better. We all help each other and we feed off each other’s energy."
On why he decided to turn his life around after his hard-partying ways threatened his career:
"One day I just decided that if I keep it up, I’m gonna throw away my life and my dream. Ever since I was 14 I wanted to fight in the UFC. I fought in the UFC at the age of 20. It was a dream come true a lot sooner than I expected. I just realized that I got so many people — the fans, my boss — people that care about me who want to see me do well, and it would be selfish of me to go out and throw my life away and keep it in the gutter when I have control over everything I’ve done.
On whether or not he would go back and do TUF again if given the choice:
"Hell yeah! I’ve asked Dana a couple of times if I could do the show again. He always reminds me, ‘Kid, you’re already a superstar. You’re already past that.’ He keeps it in his mind. Hopefully next time I go on the show I’ll be a coach. There’s other ways for me to go on the show. That’s definitely something I look forward to, but right now my ultimate goal is to win the title belt this year. If I don’t get a title shot this year, I just want to make sure I go undefeated. I have my two goals that I set and I stick to my goals. I just have to put in the work because nobody’s gonna give me anything. I have to work for every inch closer I get to that belt, I have to earn it."
On Dana White’s proclamation that Greg Jackson’s fighters have become boring and overly cautious in recent months:
"He’s the boss. At the end of the day, I can’t change how he feels. If he said that about our camp, that’s how he felt. I’m not here to bash my boss and I’m not here to take sides and bash my team or my coach. We do our jobs in the cage and we get our Ws. Georges St-Pierre’s still holdin’ onto the welterweight belt and guys like me, Clay Guida and Carlos Condit are at the top of the ranks, so we’re doin’ something right. Maybe at the time [he said it] he was upset for some reason and maybe he just felt that way. I don’t know the reason behind it. I never really questioned it. I never really got into a deep discussion about it, but I know that we’re just gonna continue to do our jobs as a team and we’re going to keep on winning fights."
On Kenny Florian’s place in the UFC’s lightweight rankings as a seemingly perennial contender:
"He’s always been right there. I like Kenny a lot. He’s a great fighter. Obviously he hasn’t broke that mental part of his game to get over that little bit of a hump to gain control of the belt. I feel that if he’s had that many chances and he hasn’t won the belt, give somebody else a shot. It’s only fair. I really don’t feel that Kenny Florian is a top contender right now. I really don’t think he should be [ranked] as a top five contender now. You got guys like [Anthony] Pettis and Jim Miller. You got [Donald] Cowboy[Cerrone], who’s my teammate, but he’s still right up there. You got Ben Henderson. There are so many other guys I can fight at 155. I’ll fight Kenny Florian, but to be honest with you, I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say he’d be a pretty easy fight for me."
On whether or not he would fight Cerrone:
"I won’t fight Cowboy. I train with him and spar with him every day. I won’t fight anybody that I’m training with out of Jackson’s right now. Not Clay, not Cowboy, not Leonard [Garcia], not anybody. That’s just a loyalty and respect we have as a team and a family. Families aren’t supposed to fight each other and Coach Greg won’t have it either. There’s enough guys out there for us to fight that we don’t need to fight the guys in our gym. The four or five guys that we have in the gym, we don’t need to fight each other. You’ve got ATT, AKA, Xtreme Couture — you’ve got so many other camps and so many 55ers. Our weight division is so stacked and there’s way too many good match-ups out there for us to fight each other."