UFC lightweight T.J. Grant can finally go to the gym without looking over his shoulder thanks to recent confirmation that Anthony Pettis’ injured knee won’t heel in time to give him a chance to supplant the 29-year old in an upcoming fight with champion Benson Henderson. Prior to the news Grant, who earned his shot at the strap with a knockout of Gray Maynard in May, was dealing with the added pressure of the rug potentially being pulled out from under him unexpectedly due to Pettis’ attempt at taking the title-shot.
Now able to focus purely on preparing for Henderson, Grant is entering his camp with the mindset of his match-up being an all-out battle for the fight’s full duration.
“As far as an opponent and a champion, I think he’s a great champion. I’ve got my hands full,” said Grant in a Q&A with fans captured by MMAJunkie. “He’s a lot different than my last opponent, and he’s unlike a lot of people I’ve ever fought in my career. I’ve fought a lot of southpaws, but his athleticism and the way he fights definitely poses a lot of challenges.”
Though Grant understands beating “Bendo” is easier said than done, his confidence in overcoming the challenge awaiting him at UFC 164 is unwavering.
“He definitely has a lot of experience in that, and that plays to his advantage being in that situation,” Grant explained. “But I’m going to prepare for it. When I train for fights, I spar five rounds. I’m going to pressure him, and it’s going to be in your face. That’s how I like to bring it. We’ll see how he fights five rounds when I’m attacking him the whole time.”
“I’m looking to fight five rounds and go to war,” he concluded.
Grant is 21-5 in his career with seventeen stoppages and is also unbeaten in five fights since dropping down to 155 pounds. Likewise, Henderson can lay claim to a respectable winning streak with seven straight victories including those over Frankie Edgar, Nate Diaz, and Gilbert Melendez.