Grant Dawson returns to action for the first time this year at UFC Vegas 53 on Saturday, and comes after joining a brand new fight camp.
Dawson (17-1-1) started his professional career with Glory MMA in Lee’s Summit, Missouri, under the eyes of James Krause. The 28-year-old fought 19 times with Glory MMA, six of those inside the UFC.
However, all great things must come to an end because when Dawson makes the walk to the octagon this weekend at UFC Vegas 53, he will have a new fight camp and new coaches.
In February, Dawson left Glory MMA and moved to Florida to train with American Top Team.
In a recent interview with Cageside Press, Dawson explained the move.
“I was at Glory for eight years. And it was eight years of the same faces and the same training schedule, in the same building and the same facility. It just, it kind of burns you out. Seeing the same everything every single day. And it’s not that they weren’t great training partners and great, great coaches, and great friends. It’s just the same thing; every single day can burn you out. I was hoping vacations would get rid of that; I was hoping a little time off would get rid of that. And it just it never did,” Dawson said. “After going to a draw in my last fight, it was kind of the eye-opener that I really needed to make these changes now, not later. And I did. We checked out ATT, we loved it, and me, my fiance, and my best friend all moved up here. We’re part of the ATT army now.”
Leaving after being coached by the same person for eight years will bring up some emotions with it, and for Dawson, the hardest part of the moving camps is not seeing his old head coach every day.
“My head coach back at Glory MMA was James Krause. And he was also one of my best friends. Somebody that I really, really look up to still. Somebody that I was able to really confide in and know always had my back. And, you know, I do think that we are still friends and that our relationship would be fine. But it’s not the same,” Dawson said. “You know, we don’t talk every day. I don’t see him every day. I think not seeing him every day is one of the hardest things and then not having him in my corner because he’s a very, very good cornerman and a very, very good coach. That’ll be one of the hardest things, and then just not seeing my friends that I’ve made over eight years. It’s rough, but the hardest decisions in life are often the best ones.”
In his last outing, Dawson fought to a draw with Ricky Glenn— something he never in his wildest dreams thought would happen. And because of that, he knew he had to make a change. “KGD” felt like if he couldn’t beat Glenn, then how could he become a UFC champion? That, he said, is his ultimate goal.
“When they read draw, it was instantly one of those things of like, where do I go from here? If I’m not good enough to beat Ricky Glenn? And that’s nothing against Ricky Glenn. I do think he’s a very good fighter. But if I’m not good enough to beat Ricky Glenn, how am I going to become a world champion someday? And it was like, I need to make changes,” Dawson said. “I was kind of lying to myself to where I thought I can make some changes and maybe stay at glory. And I think as time went on and just the way I was feeling, it wasn’t going away. I think it was the nail in the coffin.”
Some fighters prosper when they switch fight camps, and Dawson knows he will.
Watch the rest of our interview with Grant Dawson above. Dawson vs. Jared Gordon goes down at UFC Vegas 53 this Saturday, April 30, on ESPN.