T.J. Grant has to be one of the most frustrated fighters in the UFC these days. After a huge effort at UFC 160 in a one-round demolition job of Gray Maynard in a lightweight title eliminator, it’s been a lengthy stint on the sidelines due to concussion-related symptoms.
Grant lost out on a title shot against then champion Benson Henderson, and also had to turn down another possible opportunity against new champion Anthony Pettis because of the lingering effects from the injury which happened during training. To make matters worse, it was Pettis who made the most of his opportunity when he filled in for Grant at UFC 164 and claimed the belt by submitting Henderson in the very first round.
While there are a number of exciting matchups forthcoming in the 155-pound division, the no. 3-ranked Grant unfortunately won’t be part of any of the action. The hard-hitting Canadian continues to feel the effects of concussion symptoms and hasn’t even been cleared to resume training. Since what was the biggest win of his career on May 25, Grant has seen a new champion crowned and many other title contenders emerge during his inactivity.
Grant’s move to lightweight had been a real career rejuvenator with five consecutive victories, including three by knockout or submission. His impressive stand-up game had taken him to a whole new level, only to have lucrative paydays elude him due to the ongoing concussion issues.
The worst thing about an injury of this type is that it simply has no timetable for a targeted return. It has to be an extremely difficult situation for him to endure at what should be a high point in his Octagon career.
Hopefully, Grant will be able to resume his career at some point this year because he’s a tremendously entertaining fighter who, if healthy, would find himself involved in some of the more attractive matchups that the division has to offer. However, the road back remains a long one.
Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports