UFC 160 fight card primer: Gray Maynard vs. TJ Grant

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Bloody Elbow presents their UFC 160 fight card primer, previewing all the action at UFC 160: Velasquez vs. Bigfoot 2 live on PPV this Saturday May 25. Here, we look at Gray Maynard vs. TJ Grant.

UFC 160: Velasquez vs. Bigfoot 2 features a pair of exciting Lightweight contender fights on the main card. After opening with Cerrone vs. Noons, we get this intriguing battle, as Gray Maynard (12-1-1(1) MMA; 10-1-1(1) UFC). faces T.J. Grant (20-5 MMA; 7-3 UFC).This is the second of five main card bouts. The UFC rankings have Maynard as the #3 Lightweight contender and Grant just a few spots below at #5. UFC 160 is live on PPV this Saturday May 25, with the main card beginning at 10:00 p.m. ET / 7:00 p.m. PT.

There is a lot to love about this fight. Stylistically, it's a match between two superb fighters with strong all around games. Both men are gritty, tough fighters who are absolutely going to war here. If that's not enough, this also is a potential #1 contender's fight. There's no guarantee, and the Lightweight division is always tricky, but the winner here could easily be next in line for a title shot, or at least one fight away. Big stakes for this adds an extra level of intrigue to an already thrilling bout.

How do these two stack up?

Maynard: 34 years old | 5'8" | 70" reach
Grant: 29 years old | 5'11" | 73" reach

What have these two done recently?

Maynard: W - Clay Guida (SD) | L - Frankie Edgar (KO) | D - Frankie Edgar (Split Draw)
Grant: W - Matt Wiman (KO) | W - Evan Dunham (UD) | W - Carlo Prater (UD)

How did these two get here?

Gray Maynard is best known for his series of classic fights with Frankie Edgar. But he's had a bit of trouble getting past those fights. He's only had one fight since losing to Edgar back in 2011 - that was the supremely weird Clay Guida fight last summer. Now that the belt is off of Edgar, and with Maynard's only blemishes coming against Frankie, he could easily be back in the title hunt. To do so, he needs to stop the rising fighter here. This is also just his second fight since leaving his longtime home at Xtreme Couture.

More on UFC 160: Velasquez vs. Bigfoot 2

T.J. Grant started his UFC career in 2009, going 3-3 in his first 6 and being, overall, not particularly remarkable. Then, he flipped a switch. Since a 2011 win over Shane Roller, Grant has been on a roll. He's won 4 straight, all against tough opponents. People have been noticing his rise for a bit, but it was his January TKO win over Matt Wiman that really turned heads, as Grant looked terrific in that fight. This is a big step up for him, but if he wants to prove that he belongs at the top of this super competitive division, he needs this win.

Why should you care?

Like I said, I love how these two match up. Plus, I want to see if Grant can break through, or if Maynard can keep the gate and perhaps make his own run back to the top.

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