For any fighter, leaving their family behind to complete a full training camp on a different continent is an inconceivable task — but for Davey Grant, it was somewhat necessary.
“It's not that I enjoy being away from my family, it's very hard. But from the fight and perspective, it's perfect, because then, selfishly, every second of the day is just concentrated on me and getting the best performance possible,” he said in a fight week interview with UFC.com.
“It’s hard, but the hardships of it are short term, and I believe that the end result, it's going to be a long term impact, and I'm just trying to make a better life for them.”
It’s the first time we really dove into the topic of family, putting the usual topics of what has come to be basic expectations of the 36-year-old — exciting fights, bonuses and finishes — on the back burner to hone in on a different side of Grant that we don’t always get to see.
Supported wholly by his family, the opportunity to do a full fight camp in Las Vegas wouldn’t be possible for the husband, father of three and gym owner if not for the sacrifices made without a second thought by his biggest support system.
“It's great, honestly…because I've got such a great support network behind me, especially my wife. I mean, she's not just looking after our kids and the house and everything. She's also running things at my gym.”
While it sounds like a tall task for anyone, the County Durham native has full faith in his wife, Sherrie, thanks to her consistent support throughout his career.
“She's like a little one-woman army,” Grant said, his smile widening with genuine admiration. “She's fully supported me. It's not like she ever says, ‘No, you shouldn't do this.’ In fact, she's more like, ‘Yes, go away, do this, if you think that's better for your fight,’ and she is 100% behind me.
“She actually kicked me out the door at times because I'm like, ‘Oh, well, I don't know about this.’ And she's like, ‘Look, you know you need to go and do it. Go and do it.’ And to have that confidence behind me from her and knowing that my kids and my businesses are looked after while I’m away, it does make things a hell of a lot easier.”
With all the odds and ends accounted for, “Dangerous” took the leap and arrived in the all-familiar Las Vegas to take advantage of the UFC Performance Institute and the high saturation of quality training partners at Syndicate MMA.
“I just knew a couple of the guys go on there. And I know (Joanne Wood) from the regional scene,” Grant explained. “I went there for a few weeks prior to my last fight away, maybe two weeks or a week. And I just thought it was just a great gym, fantastic atmosphere, some quality guys. And it made me feel really, really comfortable.
“I think that's a big, big part of the gym. That's how I try and run my gym at home; they're sort of like, like a church, if you will. People come in for some sort of release from normal life, but you need to go in there and feel comfortable. And it should be a place where you go and leave feeling great. And that's exactly what I got from Syndicate. It just really, really worked for me, and working with John Wood last time, we just clicked, and this time has been even better.”
With “every second” since his arrival in the United States being “dedicated toward this performance,” it’s safe to say that we can expect to see a version of Davey Grant unlike any before on Saturday against Louis Smolka.
“He's a veteran of the sport. He's been around a long time, been in some great fights. Exciting fighter. So I can't see how this is not a good fight,” Grant said, visibly excited at the thought of his tenth Octagon showing.
“I mean, hopefully, I'm going to knock him out,” he said with a grin. “I don't think there's any secret what I'm going to try and do. That's always going to be my game plan… and then if I have to go to plan B, I have to go to plan B. At the end of the day, I just want to be getting my hand raised.”
While Grant has the opportunity to earn his fifth-consecutive fight night bonus, he’s focused more on getting back into the green than he is on earning an extra $50,000.
“First and foremost, I’m a competitor… I'm more about winning fights than going and getting the higher wages. It's nice to be noticed, you know, for having these exciting fights… and it is a good consolation when you lose the fight. But I'm not thinking of all that; I'm always gonna go for the win. I'm not just trying to put on these exciting fights to try and get the bonuses. It's nice, and I do like having exciting fights. But winning is always going to be first case scenario.”
Looking for a short night at the office on Saturday night with hopes for a quick turnaround to get a spot on the card for UFC’s second appearance in London in 2022 in July, Grant is just excited to put his hard work on display.
“Honestly, the way I feel, the way I've been training — I'm looking for a career best performance. I think people are gonna think, ‘Wow, he's never been out of the gym.’ I’m definitely not getting any younger, but I feel like I'm still getting better and better. And I just can't wait to go in and let it all show.”
UFC Fight Night: Blachowicz vs Rakic took place on Saturday, May 14, 2022 at the UFC APEX in Las Vegas. See the Final Results, Official Scorecards and Who Won Bonuses — and relive all of the action on UFC Fight Pass.