T.J. Grant deserves the pay-per-view spotlight


The UFC has a great opportunity to take a chance and create another star in the lightweight division. We’ve seen the likes of B.J Penn, Frankie Edgar, and now Benson Henderson become elite fighters. They’ve also become notable fighters who are recognized, even by the non-hardcore MMA fans.

The lightweight division is arguably the best division in the UFC based on the depth of talent. We’ve already seen great fights this year with Josh Thomson vs. Nate Diaz and Jim Miller vs. Pat Healy. Of course, the title fight between Gilbert Melendez and Benson Henderson can’t be forgotten. Everyone expected to see two more excellent lightweight fights happen at UFC 160. They both ended up being very one-sided.

Donald Cerrone looked outstanding in his dominant victory over K.J Noons. Cerrone remains to reign as one of the top lightweights in the world. The other fight which took place was a number one contender’s fight between Gray Maynard and T.J. Grant. Even though I picked Maynard to win, he didn’t look to me as a huge favorite over someone like Grant.

Within about two minutes, Grant knocked Maynard out with a fury of punches and knees. It totally took everyone by surprise and now has put all everyone on notice. Despite the fight only being about two minutes, it was clear that Maynard wasn’t showing much respect to him. He was throwing wild hooks, and while leaving himself wide open. Grant exploited that and knocked him down three times, before finally earning the win and knockout of the night.

Grant is now 5-0 in the lightweight division and will face Benson Henderson for the championship. This is a unique match-up because Henderson has defended his title against three big names. Frankie Edgar is one of the most popular fighters in the UFC, Nate Diaz is always getting fans excited, and Gilbert Melendez was considered by some to be the best lightweight in the world.

Now T.J. Grant comes in as someone who is up-and-coming, and ready to challenge for the title. He won in spectacular fashion beating Maynard, who has lost only once beforehand. This is the perfect position to have Grant face Henderson at UFC 165 in Toronto. Grant may not be from Toronto, but he’s Canadian and we know how loyal Toronto is to their Canadians.

They may make loads of money in booking Georges. St Pierre in Canada, but it’s getting stale. The last time he fought outside of Canada was against Dan Hardy at UFC 111 in New Jersey. That was in 2010, which shows how long it’s been since he’s fought outside of Canada. St. Pierre is still a huge draw and can sell-out arenas whether it’s in Las Vegas or Los Angeles or Atlanta.

This is a prime opportunity to have someone like Grant, who has looked so impressive, to take on against Henderson in Canada. It could create a special moment and should attract plenty of viewers. Other than his win over Nate Diaz, Henderson has been in close fights during his title reign. This will be a huge test for him, where he’ll have to win convincingly. There are only so many split decisions you can win in your career before eventually you lose one.

Fox Sports 1 is a big deal and the UFC wants to put together a huge card for it. They could still do that by building a stacked card, then possibly putting Rener Barao vs. Eddie Wineland in the main event for the bantamweight title. Or you could finally make the fight everyone wants to see in Chael Sonnen vs. Wanderlei Silva.

There are plenty of options for the main event of the Fox Sports 1 card in August rather than Henderson versus Grant. It’s about time to reward the lightweight division for constantly putting on great fights by giving them a pay-per-view main event. You can promote how Henderson has had a lengthy title reign, while having most of his fights won by split decision. Then you can promote Grant by saying how he’s 5-0 in the lightweight division and has been close to unstoppable.

You can have Georges. St Pierre defend his title against Johnny Hendricks in the Fall. That fight will be huge in any state or arena. It would be a great moment to see Grant and Henderson main event a pay-per-view, while having this fight take place in Grant’s home country. I’m sure it will motivate Henderson even more knowing that he won’t have many fans around him and needing to be constantly aware of Grant’s knockout power.

This is the perfect opportunity to possibly have a new star emerge. Even if Grant were to lose, I’m sure he’ll put up a great fight and show how he belongs in the upper echelon of a stacked division. He has already impressed everyone by defeating someone as good as Maynard.

He is on the cusp of greatness and you may be looking at the next big star from the lightweight division in T.J Grant. Now please make this fight happen in Toronto at UFC 165. It’s been long overdue for such a great division like the lightweight division.

You can follow me on twitter at @Allen_Strk or e-mail me at [email protected]. Also keep up with all MMA news by following @MMASucka on twitter.

(Photo by MMAJunkie.com)

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