By Philip Croucher - Metro Halifax
COLE HARBOUR - T.J. Grant now knows the date of the biggest fight of his MMA career.
© Metro Halifax file photo
UFC fighter T.J. Grant trains at the Fit Plus mixed-martial-arts gym in Cole Harbour.
The 29-year-old from Cole Harbour will be headlining UFC 164 in Milwaukee as he takes on champion Benson Henderson for the lightweight title on Saturday, Aug. 31.
Grant earned his first-ever UFC title shot by disposing of Gray Maynard at UFC 160 in Las Vegas last month in an impressive first-round TKO.
“A big opportunity for me, man … The emphasis is all Benson Henderson from here on out,” Grant said Wednesday.
“This is everything I could ever imagine. This is really the epitome of sport, to fight for a world title. To get the opportunity to do that, it doesn’t even seem like it has sunk in yet.”
Grant is going into the fight in great shape – both physically and mentally. His fight against Maynard ended just 2:07 into the first round, meaning little in the way of damage to him.
The victory also improved his record to 5-0 since moving to lightweight, helping to grow his confidence and reputation as one of the best fighters in the division.
However, Henderson will be the toughest test he’s ever faced. Henderson, 29, is 18-2 and has won three straight title defences. As well, because it’s a title fight, it will be scheduled for five five-minute rounds instead of three.
“He’s the champ. He’s got a lot of tools in his arsenal,” Grant said. “He’s really got no weaknesses, but there’s obviously points that you have to look to exploit, things I think I’m good at and he’s not. Just have to find those. At this level, they don’t get any easier and this fight is definitely going to be the toughest fight of my life.”
The fight isn’t the only major event coming up in Grant’s life. The new father of a five-week-old baby girl Casey is also getting married on Oct. 5 to his fiancé Belinda. Grant said the wedding is taking place in HRM.
“I am just looking forward to do my best to win this fight so I can enjoy my wedding,” he said.