Mixed Martial Arts

Canadian welterweight Grant looks to bounce back at UFC 107

The Canadian Press
12/6/2009 7:21:14 PM
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UFC 100 may have been a landmark in the mixed martial arts organization's history but Halifax welterweight T.J. Grant is doing his best to forget it.

Grant, a late addition to the July 11 card in Las Vegas, suffered his first loss in the UFC by dropping a decision to unbeaten South Korean Dong Hyun (Stun Gun) Kim. It was a bad night all round.

"That fight was kind of like a bad dream," Grant said. "I didn't feel good the whole fight. I guess he took me out of the fight the whole time. He was good. I've got to maybe take more chances, be a little bit more aggressive in situations like that where I'm losing a decision.

"But hindsight's 20-20. I've got to move on."

Grant (14-3) gets to adds a new chapter to his fighting career Saturday when he takes on Kevin (The Fire) Burns at UFC 107 in Memphis. The main event sees B.J. (The Prodigy) Penn defend his lightweight title against Diego (Nightmare) Sanchez.

Grant and Burns kick off the undercard at the FedExForum.

The 29-year-old Burns is a former Wells Fargo bank employee who made the most of an appearance as a late injury replacement at UFC 85. Out of nowhere, he submitted Roan Carneiro and went on to split a pair of fights with Anthony (Rumble) Johnson -- the rematch came after Johnson fell victim to an accidental eye poke in the first bout -- before losing a decision to veteran Chris Lytle last time out in June.

"I look at him a lot like myself," said Grant. "He's tough, he's well-rounded and he brings the fight. It should be good."

Grant, 25, says the fight could go anywhere.

"He likes to stand and bang, but he's got some good jiu-jitsu too. He's probably a smart guy, if one's not working out, he'll try to do the other."

Coming off two losses, Burns will also be motivated.

"He's going to come out hungry. I'm hungry too,"Grant said. "I really want to get the taste of the last fight out of my mouth, I want to move on from there and get a big win."

Grant, who won his UFC debut in April at UFC 97 with a split decision over veteran Ryo Chonan, had been slated to fight June 20 on "The Ultimate Fighter" Season 9 finale card in Las Vegas only to see opponent Rory Markham withdraw through injury.

Grant then stepped in against Kim in place of Montreal's Jonathan Goulet, who dislocated his shoulder in training.

The Markham fight had been short notice as it was, so Grant ended up preparing for two opponents in quick succession.

Kim, a fourth-degree black belt in judo, blunted pretty much of Grant's game. Grant said, for the first time in his career, he never found his rhythm.

"You've got to move on," he said. "It was depressing obviously to lose and just to lose in that fashion. I didn't really feel like I fought my fight. I would never make excuses, I got beat by the better fighter that night. I think I could have done better. Next time I don't want to make that mistake."

Grant's preparations have been better this time. He has known his opponent for some time -- "the opposite to my last fight" -- and says he benefited from time spent in November training in Cincinnati with veteran Jorge Gurgel.

"He's taught us a lot," said Grant, a gym rat who still managed to find some time for himself after UFC 100.

"I like being around him," he added. "He's a cool dude. He definitely inspires guys to want to fight."

A self-described "low-key guy," Grant says his UFC exposure means he gets "noticed here and there, and people know who I am."

"That's cool, but obviously for me it's more of I fight because I love it, not so much for the fame and notoriety."

T.J. Grant  (Photo: The Canadian Press)


(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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