Houston, TX — Russian Maxim Grishin got a lot of credit for taking a heavyweight fight at UFC 271 after opponent William Knight blew past the light heavyweight limit by a full 12 pounds.
In the end, Grishin (32-9-2) earned a unanimous decision in the fight, one that he said following the event felt like a long time coming.
“For me, it was the very long wait for my fight,” Grishin told media outlets including Cageside Press. “I was pretty sure I will win in Houston, because I like this town, I like this city. I went through a very, very long training camp because before, I had my scheduled fight in June, that was cancelled, and finally I fight in February.”
The change in weight caught many by surprise. In any other weight class, the bout would have been cancelled, but with light heavyweight jutting right up against heavyweight, the Texas commission allow it to proceed. For Grishin, it was basically an old school mindset that had him accepting the fight.
“Actually, I represent old Russian fighting schools, so sometimes I don’t care, because I respect so much the previous UFC fighters, who don’t care about weight category, and about the time,” he stated. “I accept this.”
And Grishin, who is anything but small, admitted that come Fight Night, “I didn’t feel any weight difference between me and him.”
As far as a return, Grishin is hoping it will be part of a big card in his native Russia, so he can “show what I want to all my fans from Russia.” In the meantime, it will be back to training.
Training brought up another subject Saturday at the Toyota Center. Allegedly, Grishin had dropped Sean Strickland in a sparring session ahead of the middleweight’s fight with Jack Hermansson.
“I’ve known Sean since a long time, we’ve trained together. It was normal,” Grishin said of the incident. “Sean’s a crazy guy, but the same like Russian people. You know why? They [have] heart, too. Smart, but tough. But I love him.”
Watch the full UFC 271 post-fight press scrum with Maxim Grishin above.