Coach Scott MacLean “Trying to be as Optimistic as Possible”, About TJ Grant Landing Title Fight in Halifax
By Kelsey Mowatt
With the recent news that the Ultimate Fighting Championship is headed to Halifax, Nova Scotia for an October 4th event, one would think that the promotion is hoping to book TJ Grant for the upcoming card. After all, not only is Grant from nearby Coal Harbour, but the #3 ranked lightweight is likely the sport’s biggest name to come out of the region. While ticket sales for the UFC’s Halifax debut should be brisk regardless, it doesn’t take a genius to conclude that adding Grant to the mix will help.
Unfortunately for Grant, however, the 30 year-old hasn’t fought now since May, 2013, due to the lingering effects of a serious concussion. The good news is that the lightweight recently relayed he’s almost back to 100%, and that he’s hoping to fight on the Halifax card. The fighter’s longtime coach, Scott MacLean, is also hopeful that Nova Scotia fans will get to see Grant in the Octagon, October 4th.
“I’m optimistic that in October he’ll be ready,” the Fit Plus coach said on a recent episode of Full Contact Fighter Radio. “Now it’s just thinking of when he might be ready. It would be fantastic maybe to have a fight before then, and have Halifax get something maybe a little more important, a title shot, if he does get a fight between now and then.”
“It’s still possible that could be when he makes his return,” MacLean furthered. “I’m trying to be as optimistic as possible, and it would be ideal if he was better sooner and maybe get a title shot in October. That would be best case scenario.”
Due to the prolonged and extensive symptoms that Grant incurred from the concussion, however, he was unable to do any substantial training for months. As a result, MacLean has stated previously that Grant could need much more time than usual to prepare for his next bout. All things considered, having Grant fight prior to October 4th, and then prepare him for another bout on the Halifax card, could be a tremendous undertaking.
“Yeah, I mean, again I’m just being optimistic,” said MacLean. “I would think that if all things went well, he’s starting to pick up his training again, he’s expressed that he’s feeling better, better being relative, not necessarily that he’s ready to go, but he’s making the improvements that he needs to make, and it will be a good day when he’s back in regular classes, training at full capacity again. I’m looking forward to that.”
It wasn’t that long ago, of course, when Grant was scheduled to challenge then lightweight champ Benson Henderson in August, before he had to bow out due to injury. Then, Grant was approached about fighting champion Anthony Pettis in December, but once again, the vet’s health prevented him from taking the fight.
The opportunities materialized as a result of Grant’s memorable, first round stoppage of Gray Maynard at UFC 160, which was the Canadian’s fifth straight win. While Grant was making headlines as a result of his impressive run, he was also bringing the spotlight to Nova Scotia and the Province’s MMA community.
“I’m not sure if it had a lot to do with him or not,” said MacLean, while discussing whether the UFC elected to head to Halifax this year, as a result of Grant’s recent success. “I think that with or without him the show would be fantastic here. I think that given that if he makes a healthy recovery in time, I definitely think that he’d be an amazing addition to the card, if he’s healthy and ready to go. I don’t know if that was a deciding factor for them or not, but I think they would come regardless…but it would be nice to think that TJ had something to do with that.”