Former CES MMA bantamweight champion Tony Gravely steps back into the octagon at UFC Vegas 24 this weekend for the first time since his first UFC victory. The fight will be Gravely’s third trip to the Octagon, and he will oppose seasoned veteran Anthony Birchak (15-7). Gravely was originally set to face Nate Maness, but opponent changes are nothing new in pandemic-era MMA.
“I’m excited,” Gravely said with a smile, speaking to Cageside Press ahead of the fight. “I had the original opponent, got changed but I was pretty confident they’d [UFC] find someone. There is a ton of people at bantamweight. I try not to alter what I do to an opponent, I’m working on what I’m good at,” Gravely continued. “If I’m really good at what I do, it doesn’t matter what you put in front of me.”
Gravely has now trained for over half a year, closing in on a full year, at American Top Team in Coconut Creek Florida. The 29-year old Virginian is ready to showcase more of himself, and what he has been working on. His opponent, Birchak, recently caught up with MyMMANews and shared his thoughts on Gravely. In short, Birchak underscored Gravely’s submission defeats.
We gave Gravely the chance to respond. “My response is, that’s what everyone says,” Gravely told us in regards to Birchak’s comments. “I can’t tell you how many times, every fight I go into it is the same thing. I hope he believes that confidence, because I want the best Anthony Birchak. I like the match-up, he’s a grappler, I don’t think we are going to back up,” Gravely continued. “I’ve fought a lot of grapplers, I know he’s tough and I’m not underestimating him, but I’ve fought tougher opponents and train with tougher opponents every single day.”
Although he has been finding success in the bantamweight division, Gravely teased to Cageside Press that he may move down in weight after this upcoming fight. Claiming it as a possibility, but not a promise.
“I’m thinking about dropping down to 125,” Gravely said. “Not positive yet. I’m not a very big bantamweight. I walk around 145-146, 150 is as high as it’ll get. That is the average flyweight size,” Gravely continued. “I might test the waters, see how my body feels. If I’m able to perform the same, I might make that drop.”
Watch our full interview with UFC Vegas 24 (UFC on ESPN 22) bantamweight Tony Gravely above!