Grant Dawson reveals he and Damir Ismagulov have sparred and rolled with one another in the past: “Both of us know what the other person is trying to do”

By Cole Shelton - June 28, 2023

Grant Dawson is quite familiar with his UFC Vegas 76 opponent Damir Ismagulov.

Grant Dawson

Dawson is coming off a submission win over Mark O. Madsen back in November and since then, he has been trying to get a fight. However, Dawson says multiple top-15 opponents have turned him down which has been frustrating as he wants to be more active.

“Man, it’s super frustrating. My UFC debut I fought like two months after that fight and that was the quickest turnaround I have ever fought in the UFC,” Dawson said on Just Scrap Radio on “It’s just been a nine-month layoff after a nine-month layoff. The last time I fought, I wasn’t a married man, that’s how long it’s been… I think part of it is matchup-wise, the UFC could find some bum to fight me, but they don’t want to see me tear through someone else and want to test me to see if I am championship-level material as I say I am. Enter in Damir, I think anybody that can beat Damir is championship material. I can’t just beat this guy, but I have to show people I am championship material.”

Once Ismagulov accepted the fight against Dawson, it added an interesting wrinkle to the fight. Damir Ismagulov has spent time at American Top Team in the past and Grant Dawson says the two have sparred and rolled with one another.

“He was only there for like three weeks and he actually came for his fight with Guram. I rolled with him, I didn’t spar with him because I’m a grappler and Guram is a striker,” Dawson said. “So, I rolled with him a bunch for that fight, and he came for Arman, and I went a bit more. We sparred once and we wore big gloves so I don’t think you can take much from it. But the point I am trying to make is, there are no secrets in this fight. Both of us know what the other person is trying to do.”

With the two being familiar with one another, Grant Dawson says that adds to the fight. However, he still knows Damir Ismagulov is a tough out for anybody but believes a win over Ismagulov will show the UFC and the lightweight division that he is a legit title contender.

“He is 24-2 for a reason, he has fought really stiff competition and I am excited for the test,” Dawson said. “He’s a championship-level fighter. You could put him in there with Islam Makhachev, is he going to beat Islam? Probably not, but he isn’t going to get run through. It’s one of those things, a good performance is all I care about. I don’t care about a finish, I don’t care about 50 G’s I don’t care about Fight of the Night, I just care about a win and a good performance.”

If Grant Dawson does get his hand raised at UFC Vegas 76, he isn’t sure who would be next as he thinks people will still turn him down. But he thinks with the way the division is going, it’s opening up for him to get a known name in the very near future.

“I do think the division is opening up a bit. You just had Oliveira and Beneil fight so Beneil is wide open, and he will be fighting anybody. You got Dustin and Gaethje, the winner probably gets a title shot and the loser has to fight somebody. I think Dustin will win, so Gaethje is another option. The division is finally clearing up where the top-five guys aren’t just going to fight each other back-to-back-to-back-to-back again,” Dawson concluded.

This article appeared first on BJPENN.COM


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