In this NYF exclusive, Grant Dawson talks about the state of the lightweight division, who he thinks will be his next opponent, and some of the cartoons he really likes.
Grant ‘KGD' Dawson is arguably the most overlooked top 15 lightweight on the roster 19-1-1 (UFC 7-0-1). The 28-year-old has looked nothing short of fantastic thus far into his UFC career. He's finished four of his wins via rear-naked choke, most recently over Mark O. Madsen, who was undefeated prior to this fight.
When I had the opportunity to chop it up with the number 15 ranked lightweight, they discussed the current landscape at 155lbs, characters from the show Avatar: The Last Airbender, Tony Ferguson's academics, Paddy Pimblett's hair, and much more.
Following his third-round submission win over the aforementioned Madsen, Grant Dawson had a hot mic placed in front of him and he made the most out of it as he called out former interim champion, Tony Ferguson.
With such a great call-out, we had to ask Grant Dawson if there was any updates on this front. “No, I think that Tony is in school. Like, he went to Harvard or something like that. Good for him, man, because he's not very good at fighting. Maybe he'll get some type of degree, that'll help him out. I'm a little bummed I'm not getting that fight, but I'm in the top fifteen, we're moving onto bigger and better things.”
So, maybe not Tony Ferguson, but there are still plenty of big names for Dawson to go up against next. “We're looking for March, and we're talking Dan Hooker, we're talking Jalin Turner, we're talking, you know, anybody that I don't train with, I'm down for.”
WHO ARE THESE GUYS?
As we're posting this, Jalin Turner is ranked at number 10 and Hooker holds the 11th spot in the ranks. Turner is on a five-fight winning streak and has stopped all of these fights within ten minutes. Hooker hasn't had the same amount of success as Turner or Dawson in his recent bouts. However, he's been fighting the very top guys in the division. There's no shame in losing the fights that he's lost. Though Dawson really wants one of these guys, a recent Instagram post from Hooker has us thinking that Dawson will need to find a new dance partner.
Whether ‘KGD' is fighting Turner, Hooker, Ferguson, or whoever next, the game plan should stay the same. When asked about these fighters, and if Grant Dawson would have to switch his style up, he said, “I'm going to out-wrestle everybody I fight first. You're going to have to show me that I can't take you down before I'm going to start striking with you. I just think it's a better way to fight, I think it's a safer way to fight, I think it's got longevity. I believe it's the hardest thing to do in MMA, and it's the one thing that I'm really, really world-class at, so I'm going to keep doing it. I think that if I get anybody down, they're going to have a long night with me.”
Zuko or Toph, Grant Dawson?
Of course, things did deviate from MMA when cartoons were brought up. The age-old question “Who's better, Zuko or Toph?” Though Dawson's A:TLA knowledge is solid, he still sides with Zuko even though the clear answer is Toph.
I mean, she's a blind girl that listens to the earth to beat up bad guys! That's pretty tight. Grant Dawson and I have agreed to do another interview where we solve this debate for good, but that'll be later down the road.
Dawson put his career on the backburner temporarily to help train Thiago Moises for his fight at UFC 283; now that Moises got his win, Dawson is hoping to get himself back inside the octagon around March. Match-making in the UFC can be unpredictable at times and rankings don't always mean what they should. Regardless, ‘KGD' is more than deserving of a big name in his next bout, and we should expect fireworks as he attempts to keep climbing the ranks.