It’s less than ten days away from the UFC’s return to London on March 18, but Bishop Auckland’s Davey Grant doesn’t mind fighting in Las Vegas this weekend. In fact, it’s almost become a second home for the Brit, who faces Raphael Assuncao at The Theater at Virgin Hotels.
“It's just sort of what I've been offered and I'll take anything,” he said. “So wherever it is, I'm not too worried. As long as I'm fighting, I don't mind at all.”
After the early part of his UFC career saw him wear out his passport with business trips to Germany, Russia and the UAE, Grant has become accustomed to training and competing in the “Fight Capital of the World,” where he’s fought his last four bouts.
In that quartet of fights, Grant has emerged with a 2-2 record, but looking beyond the numbers, it’s key to point out that the two wins were knockouts over Jonathan Martinez and Louis Smolka, and the two losses were in Fight of the Night scraps against Marlon Vera and Adrian Yanez. In other words, Grant isn’t going to sneak up on anyone in the bantamweight division.
“Yeah, I think people know what they're going to be getting with from me, but I don't mind,” he chuckles. “It's their job to stop you.”
That job has gotten increasingly harder over the last few years, and it’s a testament to Grant’s hard work and dedication to the sport, which includes making the sacrifice of leaving his family back home to travel to Vegas in order to work with the Syndicate MMA crew. It’s all worth it, though, because not only is he making his place among the best bantamweights in the world, but he’s got plenty of support from his wife and three kids.
Davey Grant | Fighter Focus
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Davey Grant | Fighter Focus
“They're all just so proud of me,” Grant said. “I think they've all had the confidence in me from the start, and I think everyone just sympathizes with me because I've had a lot of ups and downs and a lot of what we maybe call bad luck before I started to solidify myself as one of the top bantamweights. So they're proud and they know how hard I've worked for this.”
That support goes beyond family and friends, because fight fans have seen Grant’s struggles play out on the world stage, when some wondered if he would ever fight again after he lost in The Ultimate Fighter 18 final to Chris Holdsworth. It would be over two years before Grant made the walk again in 2016, in London, against Vera, and while he won that first fight with “Chito,” two losses followed, leaving him in limbo once more. But Grant never stopped believing, and fans saw that and appreciated it.
“Honestly, I think everyone just respects the type of guy that I am,” he said. “I don't really go and do too much s**t talking and stuff like that. It's not really my way. I'm sort of a nice guy and I just like to do all my talking in the Octagon, to be honest.”
That will be the case on Saturday, as well, when he takes on fellow good guy Assuncao. Maybe it’s just the way they are as human beings, or perhaps, with Grant at 37 years old and Assuncao at 40, they’re too mature for any extracurricular things.
“I like to think that everything happens for a reason,” he said. “And I know I'm a lot more sensible with things like when you win and bonuses and things like that. I mean, I don't know what 22-year-old me would've done with a 50 grand bonus. (Laughs) You might not have seen him for a few months, I don't know. So I think it's definitely been a bonus that my head’s a little bit more screwed on, and I’ve got the kids to think about now, so that's everything to me, really.”
Mike Tyson once said that he “got old too soon and smart too late.” Fortunately for Davey Grant, he’s got the experience and wisdom he needs to make a run at a title, and he’s still got the physical tools to make it all happen. That’s a nice place for “Dangerous Davey” to be in.
“Yeah, it is,” Grant agrees. “It's a strange kind of confidence. I know what I'm capable of now, I know I can go and perform against the top guys at the top level, and it makes it so exciting for me every fight.”
UFC Fight Night: Yan vs Dvalishvili took place live from The Theater At Virgin Hotels Las Vegas on March 11, 2023. See the Final Results, Official Scorecards and Who Won Bonuses - and relive all the action at UFC Fight Pass!