Scott MacLean: TJ Grant “Seems to be Making Progress”, Fit Plus Coach Would Like to See Lightweight Fight Anthony Pettis in “Six to Eight Months”
By Kelsey Mowatt
As 2013 comes to a close, it remains to be seen when TJ Grant will fight next, after the surging lightweight was forced to pass on two title shots as a result of a concussion he suffered earlier this year. While no firm return date has been set, Grant’s head coach Scott MacLean says things are improving, albeit slowly, for the 29 year-old fighter.
“He seems to be making progress,” the Fit Plus instructor relayed on the latest edition of Full Contact Fighter Radio. “It hasn’t really, from what I see, the frequency of his training is picking up again, but the symptoms, last that I heard…he hasn’t been symptom free. He’s still having frequent symptoms, which seems to be pretty frustrating to him.”
After Grant quickly took out Gray Maynard at UFC 160 in May, the Nova Scotia fighter was booked to fight then lightweight champ, Benson Henderson, at UFC 164 in August. Grant was concussed while grappling multiple weeks out from the bout, and had to withdraw.
After Anthony Pettis stepped in as a replacement and tapped out Henderson for the title, Grant was offered to fight the new champ at UFC on FOX 9. The Fit Plus fighter, however, couldn’t take the bout due to his ongoing symptoms.
“I definitely think that it’s progress, it just might not be happening as fast as we’d like it to happen,” added MacLean. “Sometimes it’s not always within our control to make things fast, to hurry up and get fixed.”
“The brain’s a unique part of our body,” furthered MacLean. “Science doesn’t really know how to help it. It’s not like a broken bone.”
As it looks now, Grant will go at least a year without fighting. His aforementioned win over Maynard took place on May 25th, and even if he’s symptom free in the coming months, Grant will have to make up for lost time in the gym.
“It’s gone past just the concussion,” noted MacLean. “From my perspective now, I think that if he was 100% healthy tomorrow, we have to overcome seven months of limited training. That adds a different perspective to his recovery.”
“He’s going to be the best judge of his body,” MacLean added. “We don’t want to rush anything to maybe regress his symptoms. We’ve come to the point now, where even if he was healthy, he’s not going to be able to hop into a training camp the following day…I think it’s more realistic to say that once he feels better, we’re probably looking at, I’m just going out on a limb to guess, a good three or four months.”
In the past, MacLean has argued that Grant is still deserving of a title shot, despite the fact he’s been sidelined for quite sometime. Now, a couple of months later, the highly regarded coach hasn’t changed his mind.
“It’s possible he could fight for the title but not very probable,” said MacLean. “The 55 division has had a few things happen and there’s going to be a few more interesting things happen, guarantee, in the next month, two months.”
“The only thing in my head that I’m thinking of, is if Pettis is already, openly decided that he can’t come back for another six to eight months, then why not just book them for six to eight months?” Said MacLean, while referring to Pettis who recently underwent knee surgery. “They’ll both be back by then. That would be fine. I don’t see that happening, but that’s the optimistic thoughts that I have running through my head.”