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Friday, 06/07/2013, 01:04 pm

EXCLUSIVE | (Part 1) TJ Grant Talks Win Over Maynard and How He’s “Incredibly Motivated” for Title Fight with Benson Henderson | BJPenn.com Radio

By JAKE CHASTAIN

| This week on BJPenn.com Radio our boys George and Pedro welcomed on newly-named number one UFC lightweight contender, TJ Grant. Grant, who is fresh off of the heels of his knock-out performance over Gray Maynard, is now officially set to face UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson at UFC 164 on August 31st. TJ has been a long-time guest and favorite here at BJPenn.com and his time shared with us to discuss his fight over Maynard and his upcoming title shot with Henderson is greatly appreciated. Grant spoke on several topics ranging from his win over Gray two weeks ago, his upcoming fight with Benson, his training camp heading into the title fight at the end of summer, and what he’s going to bring to Henderson in that title fight. Here are some of the highlights from Grant’s interview on BJPenn.com Radio:

First, Mr. Grant spoke about his win over Maynard and how different he felt now that he has won himself a shot at the coveted UFC lightweight strap:

“It’s taking a little while to sink in but definitely it’s a good feeling. I’ve been putting a lot of work in, just grinding away. You know, quietly doing my thing and now I’m starting to really make some noise and this is where I want to be.”

Grant also talked about the long road he’s taken to get to this point in his career. After the stretch of fighting seven years inside the UFC Grant now finds himself gaining the recognition he’s always deserved and he felt the need to thank BJPenn.com for always following him, supporting him, and what being in this position means to him now:

“It’s been a long one, man, but you guys have supported me, you know, when no one really knew who I was and it’s been a long road man, but that means a lot. I definitely never got discouraged or anything. I felt fortunate to fight as much as I did in the UFC and really climb the radar because, you know, I’ve had the right fights at the right times in my life and  here I am man, I’m in a good spot and I couldn’t really ask for anymore.”

Grant then spoke about his #1 contender fight with Maynard two weeks ago, how he felt going into that fight and how he made knocking Gray out look, well, kind of simple:

“I felt confident in myself going into the fight but I was prepared to go in there and be put through the grinder and take a beating if I had to in order to win and, you know, sometimes you do everything right and things fall into place for you and you can have a performance like that. But, you know, you fight Gray Maynard ten times and it’s not going to be the same outcome every time. The guy is a warrior and I was just glad to go out there and be able to do what I prepared to do. And, obviously, the plan early on in the fight was not to stand in front of him and feel his power. It wasn’t until about a minute in that I kind of said, ‘oh, I’m supposed to be moving right now. Not going out there and pulling a Clay Guida but I’m trying to keep the pressure, exchange with him, but be constantly moving.’ And then once I found my rhythm after about a minute I felt like I was able to start to throw my combinations or whatever and get off a little bit.”

TJ, who will try to derail Henderson’s title run at the end of the summer, also talked briefly about how, even though his win over Maynard was overly impressive, his job is not done and how every fighter is only as good as his next fight:

“This job, man, you go right back into it. Everybody forgets about what you did and it’s on to proving yourself again. Every time you’re out there you’re auditioning.”

He also discussed how much things change with gaining a title fight as far as interviews, countdown shows, and just the publicity in general, explaining that he’ll try to keep things as normal as possible and continue to do the important things the right way even with all the extra attention and build-up:

“I’ll keep doing interviews with guys like you, I guess. I don’t mind doing interviews and, uh, I’m sure it’s going to get crazy but at the same time this is where I want to be in life and uh, you just have to try to manage it your best and make sure it doesn’t interfere with your rest time. And just make sure you get good sleep and stuff like that and then I can do whatever I do after that. It’s really important though as a fighter to get your rest and stuff like that but I’m not going to complain about that stuff, you know? I want to fight, I want to win, I want to make money, I want to become the champion, all these things and that’s just something that comes along with it.”

And although there are several added bonuses that come along with being a title contender, such as fame and money, Grant explained that he remains focused on what’s important heading into UFC 164:

“I don’t even think about that stuff. I don’t think about anything other than just fighting. I don’t think about how much money I’m going to make or anything like that. It’s about going to war.”

“I’m incredibly motivated. To me it’s such an honor to fight for the belt and everything else. But I’ll tell you when I’m out there fighting, like, I know it’s hard to say that but, I don’t really think of anything but winning.”

Grant then talked about Henderson’s strengths and what he’s going to have to be prepared for heading into his title fight with The Champion:

“I think it’s just going to be important to be on-point everywhere. I mean, this guy (Henderson) can wrestle with anybody, he’s a black-belt in jiu-jitsu now, and um, his striking is on-point and his athleticism and being a southpaw, you have to worry about all of those things. It sounds like a lot of fighters I’ve ever fought and I’m just looking forward to getting out there and preparing for this fight.”

You can listen to the entire interview on BJPenn.com Radio by clicking here and for all of your latest exclusive interviews, news and UFC 164 updates be sure to stay posted to BJPenn.com

-Jake Chastain

@jchastain45

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