(Mike Guymon highlight reel, courtesy of JokersWildFA.)
Two promising welterweights will be making their Octagon debuts against each other at UFC Fight Night 20, which goes down this coming Monday (1/11) at the Patriot Center in Fairfax, Virginia. Allow us to introduce you to…
MIKE "Joker" GUYMON (WW)
Experience: 11-2-1 record (all wins by stoppage), primarily competing in King of the Cage, where he is the reigning welterweight champion. Last fought in October, when he earned a fourth-round TKO over Quinn Mulhern. Hasn’t lost since a split-decision against Pat Healy at an IFL event in June 2007.
Will be fighting: Rory Macdonald (see below)
Lowdown: With a decade of experience in the game, Mike Guymon has been one of MMA’s most respected ambassadors, serving as one of the original members of the TapouT crew and running his own fight school in California. In December 2008, the 35-year-old captured KOTC’s welterweight title with a fifth-round submission victory over Anthony Lapsley; Guymon has successfully defended his belt twice since then. In August, he made news for a near-tragic suicide attempt/armed standoff in Orange County following troubles in his personal life, but has found peace through re-committing himself to the sport that he loves: "I wanted to prove to people that it’s possible to get in the ring after trying to commit suicide. I sometimes need 16 hours a week of therapy to deal with this thing. But this is living proof not to give up and that good things will happen.”
RORY "The Waterboy" MACDONALD (WW)
Experience: 9-0 record (all wins by stoppage), primarily competing in King of the Cage, where he was the lightweight champ before vacating the title to move up to 170 pounds. Last fought in September, scoring a second-round knockout over Nick Hinchliffe.
Will be fighting: Mike Guymon
Lowdown: Just 20 years old, this British Columbia native has been crushing his opponents since the tender age of 16. As a 155-pounder, he won KOTC’s Canadian lightweight title by TKO’ing Kajan Johnson in December 2007, then followed it up by knocking out Clay French for the organization’s World lightweight belt in November ’08. He’s now 2-0 in his current weight class. His nickname was given to him by the guys at his gym, because like the Adam Sandler character, he’s a mama’s boy who goes berzerk in the face of adversity. Says MacDonald: "Ever since I first started training to fight I knew that I had something special. I’m not trying to say that I am anyone special, but I knew that I was talented at fighting and I knew it was what I was going to do and that there was nothing that was going to stop me from getting in the UFC. I was always really confident, even when I first started, that this was an achievable goal and now that I’ve achieved it, it’s amazing…I think that at this point in my career I’m ready to jump in this pool and I’m ready to show the world who I am.”
GERALD "Hurricane" HARRIS (MW)
Experience: 12-2 record fighting in the IFL and various regional promotions. Has won six of his last seven bouts via first-round stoppage, including a 46-second KO of WEC/UFC vet Nissen Osterneck in September.
Will be fighting: Mike Massenzio (11-3, 1-1 UFC)
Lowdown: You probably remember Gerald from TUF 7, where he defeated Mike Marrello in the elimination round before losing to Amir Sadollah in the round-of-16, and wrote a very revealing guest blog about the experience for our site. Unfortunately, Harris wasn’t invited to compete on the TUF 7 finale, so he never had an official fight in the UFC. Since his stint on the show, Harris has racked up a 6-0 record in the Bum Fighting circuit. After re-connecting with Dana White during an appearance on MMA Junkie radio, Harris was offered a contract, and makes his return to the Octagon as a replacement for the injured Tim Credeur.