There may not be another fighter that goes through as much on a day-to-day basis as Mike Guymon. The 37-year-old suffers from depression, but you’d never know it by meeting him. Whether it’s his infectious smile or willingness to help anyone, he’s not the type to back down from the challenge that greets him every morning.

“The Joker” retired in early 2011 following back-to-back losses in the UFC. Now, after more than a year away from the cage, Guymon will return to action on March 16 in the main event of BAMMA USA’s Badbeat 5.

Speaking with The MMA Corner, the Californian opened up about his brief retirement, “It wasn’t the back injury that prompted the retirement (as was rumored). It was more the medications and dealing with depression. It really took a lot of the fight out of me in my last two UFC appearances.”

Now with a handle on things, Guymon is ready for redemption.

“I feel like I cheated everybody: the UFC, the fans and even myself,” the fighter admitted. “Now I have something to prove to myself and everyone else. That wasn’t me out there. I’ve gotten so much better in all areas and I’m excited to display it.”

Guymon (L) throws a leg kick (Sherdog)

As if there wasn’t enough pressure in headlining an event following a lengthy absence, Guymon decided to push himself even further by dropping down to the lightweight division.

“I figured that I had fought and won at both middleweight and welterweight, so why not make it really interesting and drop another weight class? I wanted to try something new and challenge myself physically and mentally,” Guymon explained. “Plus, I think I present a lot of problems for people in this weight class with my height, size and experience.”

Dropping the additional 15 pounds required much more discipline than in the past. However, the fighter is confident he’ll make weight.

“It’s unbelievable; if I mess up a little bit on my diet or training regimen, the weight goes up,” said Guymon. “I have changed all my eating habits and there are so many people supporting me through this. I’m ready to go.”

Standing across the cage at the Commerce Casino on Friday night will be Cris Leyva, who carries a record of 10-3. Guymon is ready for anything the fighter has to offer.

“Wherever the fight goes, I want to be dominating that aspect,” stated the UFC veteran. “He’s won most of his fights by being aggressive on the feet, and that’s where he wants to be. But I’ve been training really hard and I don’t plan on losing any time soon.”

With a win over Leyva, there may be one last run at the big show for Guymon in his new weight class.

Guymon (Sherdog)

“I talked to Joe Silva, and put the thought in his head,” explained Guymon. “If I string together some victories at 155 pounds with all the changes that I’ve made, he said he would consider having me back. It really depends on how I win and who I fight.”

Whether or not he gets back to the UFC, Guymon will still be faced with his internal struggles. And although he has his good days and his bad days, he has managed to find comfort in teaching martial arts.

“Ever since James Wilks and I joined Lightning MMA and Joker MMA together, it’s lit a new fire under me,” said the fighter. “I love teaching and training because I get a lot of satisfaction out of helping other fighters reach their goals. That’s where my true love and passion is.”

Showing just how far he’s come in his ongoing battle with depression, the self-proclaimed “open book” closed with an important message, “Life’s too short. You have to help everyone, whether it be martial arts or life in general.”

Mike would like to thank all his training partners: James Wilks, Andrew Lang, Johnny Cisneros, RJ Clifford, Ozzie Avalos, his sponsors: Bike Religion, Sony Automotive, Powerade, MagnaFlow, Hayabusa, Truck Covers USA, Versa Climber, Anarchy Design, GRC Automotive, and Muscle Milk, his close friend, Zak Smith, his manager, Brian Yoshino, and his wife.

Also, Mike would like to give special recognition to Tri-Coasta, for supplying his walkout shirt.

Top Photo: Mike Guymon (Rob Tatum/The MMA Corner)

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  • michael guymon

    Rob that was awesome thanks for the interview… much love my friend