Grant brings UFC experience to town

Dave Mathieson
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AMHERST - Fighting can make or break a man.
Cole Harbour's T.J. Grant has been making a name for himself since stepping on the biggest fight stage in the world - the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
In April, Grant fought at UFC 97 in Montreal, then in July he fought at the highly anticipated UFC 100 in Las Vegas.
"The UFC is the best of the best and it's where I want to be," said Grant. "That's where you make the most money and the best living in this profession, and I just want to get another win under my belt."
Grant visited the Cumberland Freestyle Academy in Amherst last Saturday where he held a seminar for fighters who want to develop their skills.
"The seminar was great," said Grant. "Everyone was eager to learn. I helped everybody learn a few basic moves that I think are effective and I think everyone got better, and that's what I'm here for."
Grant is basedat Fit Plus in Dartmouth but also trains in Thailand and in Cincinnati under Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt Jorge Gurgel, who also trains former UFC middleweight champion Rich Franklin.
The training has paid off. At UFC 97, he beat highly favoured Ryan Chonan.
"When I found out I was fighting him, I was a little intimidated because of his name," said Grant. "But as the fight drew closer, the more I thought I could beat him."
His next test was at UFC 100 where Grant lost a decision to Korea's Dong Hyun Kim.
"I don't want to sound like I should've, could've, would've," said Grant. "But I shouldn't have been so dead set on one game plan.
"I didn't change my approach as the fight progressed. I should have realized I had to change it up to make something happen. I should have switched up my strategies more."
The day before the seminar in Amherst, the 170-pound Grant signed a contract to fight a welterweight bout against Kevin Burns at UFC 107 on Dec. 12 in Memphis, Tenn.
"I have to approach it like any other fight," said Grant. "I have to really step up my training so I go into the cage at 100 per cent and ready to go. You can't really expect to win one certain way. I learned that in my last fight."
Grant, who has a career record of 14-3, said he loves to train and loves to compete.
UFC fighters he looks up to include Randy Couture, Dan Henderson, Antonio Nogueira and Canadian Georges St. Pierre.
"I'm not comparing myself to those guys, I just like the way they fight," said Grant. "They always try to make the fight their fight. No matter what, they're in control and that's the way I like to fight."
He also likes to entertain the fans.
"I just want to fight guys who want to have good fights," said Grant. "I open myself up in a fight because I want to make it exciting, I want to bring it and like fighting guys who like to bring it."
He said his favourite fight was against Chad Reiner, whom he beat by submission.
"It was the first time people got to see my total skill set," said Grant. "He came to fight and came ready to go and it was one of those fights that, afterwards, you felt you learned a lot."
Grant wrestled in high school and said it's a great foundation to build upon. He gets especially animated when talking about training.
"If you're a beginner, don't beat the crap out of each other," he said. "When you're young, it's good to dabble in everything and go in spurts with each one so if you get bored with one fighting technique, you can switch it up a little.
"If you wrestled in high school, then focus on that because you have the rest of your life to learn how to fight. Wrestling is one of those foundations you can build upon."
Grant trains full time but spends his spare time with his girlfriend and says he likes playing with his Xbox.
He also said he is looking forward to Season 10 of The Ultimate Fighter, which begins tonight on Spike TV.
"It should be interesting with Rampage (Jackson) and Rashad (Evans) as the coaches," said Grant. "And Kimbo (Slice) should be entertaining."

Organizations: UFC 97, UFC 100, Cumberland Freestyle Academy Fit Plus Season 10 of The Ultimate Fighter

Geographic location: AMHERST, Montreal, Las Vegas Dartmouth Thailand Cincinnati Korea Memphis, Tenn.

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