UFC’s TJ Grant Sees Top 10 Spot On The Line Versus Matt Wiman: “We’ve Both Rattled Off Some Wins; We’re Both Right Up There”
By Kelsey Mowatt
All has been according to plan in the career of TJ Grant as of late. This Saturday at UFC on FOX 6 in Chicago, the former welterweight will begin his fifth year competing in the UFC armed with a three fight win streak, and has an opportunity to move into the upper tier of the promotion’s lightweight division. Reason being, of course, is that Grant will take on fellow vet Matt Wiman at the event, who has been making moves in the 155 pound division in his own right.
“That’s how I see it,” Grant said on Full Contact Fighter Radio recently, while discussing the importance of this fight and the favorable position the winner will hold. “To fight a guy like Matt, he’s pretty well known. I see this is as a big opportunity for myself in the UFC. I treat every fight like that, but I think this one holds a little bit more significance, just because we’ve both rattled off some wins; we’re both right up there, and I think the winner’s definitely going to be making noise for a top ten spot and a top ten opponent.”
While Grant has captured attention due to consecutive wins over Shane Roller, Carlo Prater and Evan Dunham, Wiman (15-6) is coming off back-to-back wins over Mac Danzig and prospect Paul Sass. In fact, aside from a 2011, unanimous decision loss to Dennis Siver at UFC 132, Wiman has gone 4-1 since 2009.
“That’s the thing, I don’t like to read into Internet stuff, but I read some stuff where people weren’t really giving him any credit,” said Grant, when asked if he believes some observers have been overlooking what Wiman has done in recent years. “I give the guy all the credit in the world. That’s why I’m training as hard as I am.”
“He’s done a lot of good things; he just submitted Paul Sass who was like 9-0 with all submissions,” Grant (19-5) furthered. “To take him down and submit him, that just shows he’s got all sorts of credentials…Overall he’s just a solid fighter. I have my work cut out for me.”
In addition to the recent successes of each man, another reason the pre-fight story line surrounding the Grant-Wiman bout is compelling, is due to the match-up’s potential on paper. Both lightweights have outstanding ground games, solid striking skills and aggressive fighting dispositions.
“He’s got a lot of things he does well in a fight,” the 28 year-old Grant noted about Wiman. “He likes to dictate the pace and he’s got really good jiu-jitsu…he’s aggressive and likes to come forward and he’s not scared to throw strikes. You have to be prepared for a guy like that.”
“As far as advantages, we’re both going to have gameplans going in, but it’s going to get real simple when we’re in there,” Grant added. “Whoever fights their pace to fight is going to win. That’s going to be the battle I think.”
While Grant was quick to credit Wiman’s impressive victory over Sass, the Canadian is coming off a thrilling, unanimous decision win over Evan Dunham at UFC 152 in September. It wasn’t long ago that Dunham was widely touted as one of the top fighters in the division, and the Xtreme Couture competitor had scored back-to-back victories over Shamar Bailey and Nik Lentz prior to facing Grant.
In other words, if some fans weren’t convinced about Grant’s potential at 155 pounds before UFC 152, they likely are now.
“It was definitely huge, and I knew that fighting a guy like that, I would be able to show the world what I’m about,” said Grant, who earned “Fight of the Night” honors alongside Dunham. “Not to disrespect my other opponents, because they were both really good opponents, and all the other fights I fought in the UFC, but to beat a guy like Evan Dunham, I think he’s a top tier fighter.”
“I felt like going into that fight it was going to be my moment and I did the best I could.”
UFC on FOX 6 will be hosted by Chicago’s United Center and will feature a flyweight bout between champion Demetrious Johnson and Jon Dodson.