Grant Dawson had no clue how the judges were scoring his fight against Leonardo Santos entering the third round.
The fight was competitive through two rounds and after the second round, James Krause had a motivating speech to tell Dawson he needs to finish the fight in the third round. Although Dawson was controlling the fight, it appeared the fight was destined to go the distance. However, with 10 seconds left, Dawson started landing heavy ground and pound that knocked Santos out cold, which was a big relief for Dawson.
“Personally in my own brain I had it 1-1, but 2-0 me or 2-0 him wasn’t out of the picture. I was chasing the finish. In the back of my head, I knew with a dominant third round I would get the win,” Dawson said to BJPENN.com. “But, when I heard the clacker, I always preach to my guys, in the last 10 seconds you basically get a free move because it is hard to catch a submission or get a knockout, so go hard if the round and fight is close. I was really trying to get a 10-8 round.
“I have always been hard on myself about how hard I hit because I’ve never knocked some unconscious. I’ve gotten TKO wins before because they were so exhausted,” Dawson continued. “Like I’ve never made someone go limp. It felt really good that as a complete fighter I’m starting to develop, I’m not just a grappler anymore. I’ve shown I can strike and showed off my power.”
The fight also served as Dawson’s UFC lightweight debut. After struggling to make featherweight as of late, he knew it was time to move up and after competing at 155lbs, he knows this is where he belongs.
“I’m happy at the weight class and I think I will fill into the weight class even better,” Dawson said. “155 is where I belong.”
After the win, Dawson used his mic time to call out Clay Guida, which he told BJPENN.com prior to the fight he would do. However, he has gotten a lot of backlash from the callout but Dawson doesn’t care as he knows that fight makes sense.
“Who cares? I’m here to move my career forward. If you don’t think Clay Guida progresses my career you don’t know this sport? How does beating Guida do anything but help me. We are both coming off a win, he has a bigger name than I do,” Dawson said. “I don’t get how that fight doesn’t make sense. To me, the fight makes perfect sense. So, I’m your guy Clay Guida. I also believe Santos is a better fighter than Guida but if I beat Guida I get more fans and more respect.”
The goal for Grant Dawson is to fight Clay Guida once he is healed up. After that, he thinks he will need one more unranked opponent before he bursts into the top-15.
“My shin is banged up and I got stitches in my head. After that, let’s go,” Dawson concluded. “I don’t know to train for it, just give me enough time to make the weight and I will make time for Clay Guida.”
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