Now that it’s been confirmed that Anthony Pettis will be out for six weeks due to a knee injury, the MMA world can focus on lightweight champ Benson Henderson’s next challenger, the surging TJ Grant (not that they shouldn’t have been when the bout was announced). While yes, Grant isn’t as familiar a name to fans as men like Pettis, Frankie Edgar or Nate Diaz, he has won five straight fights since moving to lightweight and has locked up the #3 spot in the UFC division. Most importantly, he’s coming off a jaw dropping and quick stoppage win over Gray Maynard, to violently demonstrate he’s not someone to be taken lightly.
Of course, Grant’s win over Maynard followed his stoppage victory over Matt Wiman in January, which came via a vicious barrage of elbows and punches. While Grant had recorded TKOs before, the majority of his wins at welterweight came via decision or submission. So what does the 29 year-old Canadian credit his recent stopping power too? While speaking to Sherdog.com’s Jordan Breen recently, the lightweight stated:
“I feel like I can go out there and use all my tools at 155 and I don’t really have to worry so much about being stuck on your back, or just the size difference. I’m also getting a lot more comfortable in there and things are coming together for me. I’m not necessarily loading up punches like I used to think you needed to do to knock people out. I’m discovering that if I use my feet right and set up the punch, and land it, you can put anyone down. I found the last two fights I had they were just good clean punches and elbows, and there was the knockout.”
There was the knockout indeed. And as far as the increased coverage Grant’s getting as a result of the wins and his upcoming title shot?
“I want to be in this position, I want to be fighting for the title…I wouldn’t say I want to be a superstar but that comes along with it, I want to make a lot of money and I want to be champion. I welcome it all. You just have to balance it the best you can.”
UFC 164 will be hosted by the Bradley Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and will be available via pay-per-view.
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