TJ Grant made noise at last night’s UFC 160 event by blitzing Gray ‘The Bully’ Maynard in a match UFC President Dana White labelled a title qualifier. The public reaction to the match sending the winner into a title shot was ho-hum, but Grant got himself noticed with a full out destruction of one of the divisions most feared fighters. Grant takes a 21-5 overall record into his title shot, and he has not lost a match in two and a half years. But how does Grant match up against the champion, Benson Henderson?
This is going to be an interesting line to set. Henderson has defended the Lightweight title a couple of times now, hanging on to a belt that has been tough to hang on to. With the title comes resources, and Henderson is a smart professional who is looking to improve all aspects of his diverse game. He is a great athlete with great submission avoidance, but what he needs to show in terms of improvement he is unlikely to find against Grant.
Henderson has talked of his legacy, and certainly it is good to see a champion thinking big, but he does need to start finishing fights, or at least he needs to try and finish fights. He has been content to go to the cards in his recent outings. There are a lot of people that think he lost his second bout with Frankie Edgar, so finishing fights will help him avoid testing the judges.
But Grant is a tough guy who is unlikely to produce a spectacular finish for Henderson. Grant is a converted welterweight who will likely come after Henderson and force him to play defense in the early going. Is Grant going to tire or can he go the full five rounds? In a five round fight, the cardio is obviously a massive factor, as it allows Henderson to give away a round or two and still win on the cards. Grant has to come ready to go five rounds.
Look for an early line to be set soon at the books, however the UFC has not officially announced the bout yet.We have not seen Henderson since his match in April, so the September to October time frame for this match to take place is most likely.