After testing his waters at 145lbs, Grant Dawson began to see the writing on the wall. He was having a tougher time moving down to the contracted mark and had missed it before his fight with Darrick Minner. Then, attempting a 150lbs catchweight, he found difficulties hitting that mark too, although he did wind up making it. So why all the strife to get down to a size that his body seemed to grow out of?
Dawson had worried that fighting people who were a bit bigger might make it harder to implement his gameplan. In addition, he had goals of winning titles in three weight classes (and still does), and had figured that featherweight needed to come first. However, after making the jump to 155lbs for his March bout with Leonardo Santos, Grant quickly saw that he is perhaps even better at what he does best. Now ready for his second go at the UFC’s lightweight division, Dawson is convinced that he’s the best when it comes to MMA wrestling.
“If you look at us on paper, you would obviously say that Gregor Gillespie is a better wrestler than me,” Dawson admitted. “However, if you look at us on MMA paper, I would think that I’m the better MMA wrestler than Gregor Gillespie.”
The distinction between the two, Dawson acknowledges, isn’t that much and may seem like nothing at all to the average fan. However, the time he’s put into MMA specific training with his wrestling he feels has made all of the difference.
“I think that Gregor [Gillespie] is a great fighter and he’s a very tough matchup. However, he spent most of his life practicing wrestling, getting better at wrestling – we’ve got shoes, we’ve got head gear, and there are no punches,” he said. “I’ve spent most of my life getting ready for MMA wrestling.”
And it’s not just noted wrestler Gregor Gillespie that Dawson has taken aim at. With a wrestler vacating the top spot in the division, Dawson feels like he’s the best in the world at his new class.
“I think I’m a better MMA wreslter than pretty much everybody in the division,” Dawson stated. “On paper, no, not until I prove it. So I’m going to look to prove it.”
He’ll take another step towards proving that this weekend at UFC Vegas 41. He fights Ricky Glenn as the co-main event of that card. The card airs starting at 1pm this Saturday on ESPN+.
You can hear the entire audio of this interview at 2:00.