All 20 fighters on the Ultimate Fighting Championship's return to Nashville successfully made weight Thursday for their Friday fights.
The official weigh-in event for UFC on FX: Guillard vs. Miller took place at the Bridgestone Arena, which hosts Friday's fight card.
Main-event lightweight fighters Melvin Guillard and Jim Miller each made their marks, with Guillard weighing in at 156 pounds and Miller at 155. Fighters in non-title bouts are allowed to be — at most —one pound above their weight class maximum.
Guillard was animated as he walked on the stage in front of several hundred fans who attended the free event. He waved to the crowd and shook hands with the two Tennessee Athletic Commission representatives who oversaw the proceedings.
But after stepping on the scale, he was slightly over the 156-pound limit. He needed to have a towel brought out so he could strip down, after which time he made the number while his opponent waited.
Before facing off for the cameras and the crowd, the two shook hands, then smiled as they held a fists-up pose. Afterward, they hugged and wished each other luck — not an uncommon show of sportsmanship in mixed martial arts both before and after a fight.
Miller said Wednesday he believes Guillard has been working on his submission defense since eight of his nine losses have come by submission — an area at which Miller excels.
"I have a ton of respect for the guy as a fighter and as a man," Miller said. "He's training to try to deal with my strengths. I know he's been working on [submission defense]. I still have those threats, and I'm confident that if I get my opportunity I'm still going to be able to put him away. He poses his own threats — the kid has dynamite in his hands.
“But I'm trying to fight to my strengths and not fight to his."
In August, Miller had a seven-fight winning streak snapped by Ben Henderson, who won one more fight and is now preparing to fight for the title against Frankie Edgar next month.
Long one of the best in the division, Miller knows a win over Guillard puts him right back in contention again. And he said he's had to forget about the loss from five months ago and move on against just as tough of an opponent as Henderson was.
"I approach [this fight] the same as every other one," Miller told The City Paper. "Melvin is a tough opponent, and either of us would make a good win for the other guy. It's just another tough fight against another tough opponent. I wanted one of those top guys that had fallen off. I wanted somebody else that had the respect and had done the work, and people knew he was a tough opponent for me."
Miller and Guillard fight on the four-fight main card, which will air live on the FX cable channel starting at 8 p.m. (CST). The preliminary card, which features six fights, will air on Fuel TV starting at 5 p.m.
Tickets for the fight card, the UFC's first in Nashville since April 2009, are on sale at the Bridgestone Arena box office.
UFC on FX: Guillard vs. Miller
When: Jan. 20; doors at 4 p.m., prelims at 5 p.m., main card at 8 p.m.
Where: Bridgestone Arena
Tickets: $25, $40, $65, $90, $125, $175, Bridgestone box office and Ticketmaster
TV: Prelims on Fuel TV; main card on FX
155: Melvin Guillard vs. Jim Miller
170: Duane Ludwig vs. Josh Neer
135: Mike Easton vs. Jared Papazian
Hwt.: Pat Barry vs. Christian Morecraft
185: Jorge Rivera vs. Eric Schafer
155: Kamal Shalorus vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov
170: Charlie Brenneman vs. Daniel Roberts
155: Fabrício Camões vs. Tommy Hayden
145: Daniel Pineda vs. Pat Schilling
135: Joseph Sandoval vs. Nick Denis