I'll be the first person to stand up and say that I'm not all that convinced that T.J. Grant is still the world's number 3 lightweight. My personal top 4 would probably be some combination of Benson Henderson, Gilbert Melendez, Khabib Nurmagomedov, and Josh Thomson. Not necessarily in that order, but necessarily those fighters. Grant is a very good lightweight, with some solid wins, but the current competitive picture just doesn't really include him. It's been just under a year now since Grant last fought. Lingering symptoms of a concussion, suffered in training have kept him on the sidelines. He has yet to face, let alone beat any of the four fighters mentioned above. All, I'm saying is that 3 might be a little high.
Of course, that's doesn't make Michael Johnsons' insinuation that Grant is "milking" his concussion to stay atop the rankings any less ridiculous. Johnson posted the comment via Twitter.
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We all know that UFC rankings are a thinly veiled marketing tool to give some extra oomph and narrative to matchmaking. They can help a fighter promote himself a bit better in upcoming fights and provide the UFC with a bit of leverage when it comes time to cut a "guy who's not even in the top ten anymore." But, I can't think of a fighter yet that I've spoken to or heard from that would put his ability to earn a living, let alone just go out and fight, behind his standing in the rankings.
Johnson's got the right idea in some aspect. Call out a notable top fighter, who may be needing a tune up fight soon. It would be a good opportunity for him to jump further up the rankings, and an opportunity for Grant to ease back into the division against a decent, but not elite lightweight. But pushing a narrative that Grant is sitting on the sidelines because that's where he wants to be is a pretty lame way to go about it. Grant is either available to fight or he's not. Once he comes back, a fight against someone like Johnson could make a lot of sense. But until then, maybe looking to a fighter who's been medically cleared to fight would be a better idea.