Grant Dawson expects to submit BJJ black belt Leonardo Santos, plans to call out Clay Guida

Grant Dawson
Image Credit: USA Today

Grant Dawson is finally making the move to lightweight.

After Dawson missed the featherweight mark by 3.5 pounds against Darrick Minner and barely made weight for a 150-pound catchweight against Nad Narimani in July, he knew he needed to move up to 155lbs. The goal for Dawson was to make a quick turnaround but that was not the case. Finally, at Saturday’s UFC Vegas 22 event, Dawson will make his official UFC lightweight debut against Leonardo Santos.

“It is about fitting a puzzle piece into a different box. I was going to have a quick turnaround at 145, they wanted me to fight someone in the top-15 at ’45. I was definitely interested in it, but I just couldn’t make the weight anymore,” Dawson said on Just Scrap Radio on “To save me the embarrassment and money, I went up. They then had to find an opponent and find a place to fit me and I think they did a great job. If I win this, it will be legends and rankings from here on out.”

Against Santos, Dawson knows the Brazilian is very well-rounded and super dangerous. Although the 41-year-old has only fought five times since 2015, he has a first-round TKO win over Kevin Lee and a submission win over Anthony Rocco Martin. He also fought Thiago Santos and Santiago Ponzinibbio on TUF at welterweight, and he actually beat T. Santos.

Dawson knows Santos will be the toughest fight of his UFC career and is looking forward to that. He is well aware in a jiu-jitsu match, he’d probably lose, but in MMA, Dawson believes he is the better MMA grappler and wants to submit the BJJ black belt.

“If we put the gi on, he’d probably beat me,” Dawson said. “I still think I’d stand a chance but he’d probably beat me. But, we aren’t fighting with gis, we are fighting with our fists. I’m going to go in there and make this an MMA match, not jiu-jitsu, not a striking match, this will be an MMA fistfight.

“I’m going to go in there, take his ass down, put him on the cage, beat him up. I do respect his ground game, but this is MMA and I’m a better MMA grappler. I’m going to go in there, lock his legs up, and beat him up until he gives me the submission. I will submit the seven-time Brazilian jiu-jitsu world champion, you heard it here first.”

If Grant Dawson gets his hand raised and submits Santos, he hopes to make a quick turnaround and fight a legend in Clay Guida. He knows it would be a fun fight for the fans, and if he beats Guida, Dawson believes he will finally start getting the respect he deserves.

“I’m looking for at least four fights. I want to fight on May 15, I am going to call for Clay Guida. He said he wanted an up and comer, that’s me. He said he wanted someone coming off a win, that’s going to be me, and he wants someone with less than 10 UFC fights, that’s me,” Dawson concluded. “I think me and Clay will get 50k and it will be a really good fight and a really good fight to get my name out there and get the credit I deserve.”

Do you think Grant Dawson will beat Leonardo Santos?

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