Gray Maynard’s Title Run Includes Nate Diaz, T.J. Grant and Even Frankie Edgar at 145 Pounds
“I’ve got to take care of Nate Diaz,” UFC lightweight fighter Gray Mayard said of his upcoming Saturday bout against the Stockton native, “but the goal is obviously to get the T.J. Grant bout again, the Frankie Edgar bout, and then get the lightweight belt. Even if I have to drop down a division to face Edgar.”
By Christopher Murphy @MurphMMA
UFC lighweight fighter Gray Maynard will face Nate Diaz in a rubber-match fight this weekend, headlining The Ultimate Fighter 18 Finale in Las Vegas. It will be the second rubber-match of his career, but Maynard says he doesn’t mind, in fact he even looks for, rematches with past opponents.
“I’ve got to take care of Nate Diaz,” he told USA TODAY Sports and MMAjunkie, “but the goal is obviously to get the T.J. Grant bout again, the Frankie Edgar bout, and then get the lightweight belt. Even if I have to drop down a division to face Edgar.”
This fight with Diaz will be the pair’s third bout. They first faced off on the fifth season of the UFC’s reality-television show ‘The Ultimate Fighter.’ Diaz would go on to defeat Maynard in the second round with a submission. That fight, like all bouts that are fought on the show, was considered an exhibition and did not go on either fighter’s record. The two would fight each other professionally in the UFC three years later, with Maynard earning a split-decision victory. Maynard said he knew they would fight again.
“I think the UFC was planning on that for a long time, and they just had to make it where our careers are going at the same stage. You want to go out (up) 2-1. That’s the biggest thing, ending strong.”
Which takes Maynard to the other two fights on his list to the lightweight title. T.J. Grant was the last man to defeat Maynard, a 1st-round TKO at UFC 160. A rematch with Grant, who sits among the top lightweight contenders, could set up a third rubber match for Maynard in the future if he bests the Canadian in their second meeting.
As for the fight with Frankie Edgar, the two are 1-1-1 against one another. In fact, of Maynard’s last four fights, two have been against Edgar – and Maynard left those two bouts with an 0-1-1 record. They fought first in 2008, where Maynard scored a unanimous decision victory; then Maynard unsuccessfully challenged Edgar’s belt at UFC 125 when the bout was scored a majority draw. In their third fight, Edgar defeated Maynard with a 4th-round TKO.
Of course, after those three fights, no fighter has the definitive advantage. That’s enough, Maynard said, to motivate him to drop 10 extra pounds to settle the score. Despite being one of the larger lightweight fighters, Maynard insists he would drop a weight-class to face Edgar once more.
“I sure as hell would try. I wouldn’t be there for good, but I would be there for that fight. It just goes back to that in my mind, it’s all even. I don’t want it to end like that.
“He got the last one, but I don’t want it to end like that. If he beats me two out of three times, then alright. But we’ll see. I’ve get to get through Nate and then keep going.”
The Ultimate Fighter 18 Finale will take place live from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, NV this Saturday, November 30. It will broadcast live on FOX Sports 1 at 10pm/7pm ETPT.
(Quotes via MMAjunkie.com)