Dwight Grant is filled with confidence ahead of his meeting this Saturday with Sergey Khandozhko in Las Vegas. The 37-year-old feels with the hard work put in this camp, the fight is his for the taking.
The UFC will make the Apex Centre their hotbed again for another fight night event. Headlining the card are strawweights Amanda Lemos and Jessica Andrade. Thirteen bouts are expected to take place following five cancellations.
I caught up with one man among the action in Dwight Grant to get his thoughts ahead of his seventh appearance under the UFC banner.
Interview with Dwight Grant
Four days out from your first outing of 2022. Very cliche, but how are the mind and the body feeling as opposed to your last camp?
I’m feeling really good. I’ve been training for a long time, and I feel like I did everything I needed to do to fight confidently. I was able to go into my last fight feeling fearless, but now I’m there with confidence and a bit of excitement.
Have there been any adjustments or new additions to this training camp/schedule that you’ve added, or have you kept everything the same?
Yes, I travelled all over California and focused on my arts more than just being in shape. I did a lot more Kung Fu training, and I feel very passionate about this performance. I’m excited to be here.
At 37, you continue to get up every day and drag your body through the trenches. What’s the key to keeping yourself motivated to get out of bed every day and chase the dream?
A big part of that is my family. I want to say it’s wanting to test myself against the best. That’s definitely there. I don’t want this opportunity to fight against the best in the world and forge create a championship legacy. That would eat away at me. But when I’m in the trenches of training for a fight, I imagine my family watching me, and I remember how important each fight is to us. That usually gets my rear in gear…or I’ll call myself names until I get out of bed. Whatever works, right?
Your last bout came against Francisco Trinaldo. With some time to reflect on that fight, what do you feel went wrong, and what positives did you take away?
I spend a lot of time reflecting on that. Besides getting fouled, I think a big impact on that fight was my mindset going into it. It was too nice, and I feel like it really affected my performance. I wanted to win, but now I’m back to going for the finish. A lot has happened in the past few years to show me how important my mindset can be when going into camp and, eventually, the fight. I feel like I’ve found my path. That’s part of my excitement for this match.
You entered the UFC in 2018 after a sublime performance on DWCS. Looking back on the last four years, how would you sum up your time under the UFC banner thus far?
I feel like I’ve brought some really exciting moments to the octagon, but I don’t feel like I’ve fully reached my potential. Coming from the contender show, I feel like Dana White handpicked me to be here, and it is actually really important to me. I feel the need to live up to that and make things exciting, and I really want to turn things up. I worked a lot on getting comfortable with the idea of this camp.
Saturday night, you’ll take on the experienced Russian in Sergey Khandozhko. What are your thoughts on the style he brings to the Octagon and overall thoughts on the matchup? Do you feel it’s one of your toughest tests to date or a fight that suits you?
Well, he says he wants to stand and bang. Let’s see if that holds up. I love kickboxing, so this can be a really exciting match up. But everyone tries to take me down after I hit them 1 or 2 times, so I worked a lot on my overall game just in case.
How do you view Sergey’s overall skill-set? Assuming you’ve watched the tape and identified holes, where do you think his strengths lie? What does Dwight Grant need to be careful of on fight night?
This is going to sound foolish, but I need to be careful not to be too careful. I like to watch my opponents in the ring and get a feel for their style. I don’t want to get into that fight and not take action. This fight is mine for the taking.
I like to ask for all the gamers who follow you, those who just don’t understand gaming, why people spend hours doing so. Why is gaming such an important downtime for you away from fighting? Tell us what you’re going to game at the moment is?
I could write an essay on this question. To sum it up, I would say it keeps my mind fully engaged long enough for me to pick apart the things I don’t want to think about or sometimes feel during injuries or weight cuts. I like to think, and I can get carried away if I’m not occupied. Also, I love good stories, and video games have a bunch of those. Right now, I’m playing a lot of Apex legends, Elden Ring, Chrono Trigger and a slew of other retro JRPGs. I’m trying to finish some games from my backlog so I can finish Persona 5 Royal and Shin Megami Tensei V.
Lastly, why should fans tune in and watch Dwight Grant compete this Saturday in Las Vegas? What can we expect?
Fans should tune in because this could potentially be one of my best performances to date. Also, I know people like stand up fights, and I’m definitely bringing a love of kickboxing to this match. I think the best reason to watch any of my fights beyond just wanting to see action is that I come from a traditional martial arts background, and I combine a lot of more modern styles with the arts I love and make for an interesting match. This fight feels like it’s going to be a perfect example of that.