T.J. Grant vs. Anthony Pettis is the right call — “I earned it,” says Grant

Posted: September 3, 2013 in Commentary/Opinion

TJ-GrantYesterday we posted an article (that nobody read—god damn Labor Day!) about why I thought a superfight between Jose Aldo and Anthony Pettis was unnecessary and even forced. Pettis has a grand total of ZERO title defenses under his belt and lightweight contender TJ Grant agrees that it’s too soon for an intra-divisional matchup.

Grant was the number one contender by virtue of his 5-fight winning streak at LW and his impressive knockout of longtime contender Gray Maynard. Unfortunately for Grant, an injury prevented him from his scheduled bout with Henderson, which would have been at UFC 164.

Grant told MMA Fighting that while he—as a fan—would love to see Aldo vs. Pettis, he feels he’s the correct choice to face Showtime. “Hey, I just won my last fight in two minutes,” he said in his own defense. “I knocked [Maynard] out. I knocked the guy out before that [Matt Wiman].”

It’s hard to disagree with what he said. “I feel like I’ve earned it,” he continued. “I feel like I’m the guy. I’ve been in the UFC a long time. I’ve never really gotten the push that I feel like I need but I’ve also built a lot of experience in fighting and haven’t been in the spotlight, which is nice too. But I’m ready to be there and I’m ready to go out there. Give me the opportunity man. I feel like I’ve earned it.”

Grant fits into the category of “unsung” in my view. He didn’t light up the MMA world with his flashy kicks off the cage or his fancy work on the microphone and in interviews. Instead, he’s strung together a succession of victims inside the cage that all together is very impressive.

He’s exactly right about not receiving a big push from UFC marketing. Many people aren’t as familiar with Grant as they are with several of his opponents. In fact, Maynard, Wiman, and Dunham were probably ALL a little more heralded than Grant at the time of their fights. Now it’s time to push the guy.

The next fight for Pettis should be Grant. He’s already earned the shot. In the meantime, it will also give us time to sort out the rest of the division. A new top contender will be apparent in the next several months. But as of now, there is one person at the top of the talented pile at LW—TJ Grant.


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