Davey Grant on the disastrous early road that nearly derailed his UFC career — and why quitting never once crossed his mind


Davey Grant will celebrate his 10-year anniversary as a UFC fighter next year.

It’s a significant milestone for the 36-year-old old bantamweight, even if Grant wishes he had more to show for it than a 5-5 record over just 10 octagon appearances, because it’s a milestone that at one point in his career felt improbable for Grant to ever reach.

“Obviously, I should have had like at least another 10 [fights] on top of that, but things were just so hard,” Grant said Wednesday on The MMA Hour. “I went through a rough couple of years where I was fighting like once a year, just injuries and surgeries and it was — it wasn’t ideal. Now, it feels like I am just getting my feet under me. I have started to fight consistently and I feel that I’m giving everyone a good performance.

” I feel so at ease that I’m able to fight as hard as I want when I choose. It doesn’t make me feel pressured to win, or that I need to play safe. Big fights, big results are what I’m after. That’s all I’m all about now.”

Grant has certainly found his footing in the UFC over the past few years. The Englishman rode a streak of four consecutive post-fight bonuses into a matchup against Louis Smolka this past weekend at UFC Vegas 54, then demolished the American with a third-round knockout to add another nasty finish to his fast-growing highlight reel.

All in all it has been an amazing turnaround for someone whose UFC career seemed to have ended long before it began. Grant joined the promotion in 2013 as a contestant on The Ultimate Fighter 18, making it all the way to the show’s finals before losing to Chris Holdsworth. Despite the loss, he still had plenty of momentum behind him when the UFC booked his sophomore appearance to be a hometown affair in London against Roland Delorme in March 2014. But then disaster struck — and it kept striking over and over again.

” The week before the fight, Grant recalled that he got in the UFC hotel. They booked him up and afterward I broke my meniscus and blew out my knee. Grant said it was the reason he never got to fight again. Grant said that I weighed in and had to inform UFC.

” So the scan results were back, and I was pulled from the fight that night. That was devastating, especially because it was a good fight for me and coming off The Ultimate Fighter, I still had a lot a lot of momentum behind me, and it was in London. It was like a dream come true. It was a UFC fight in London. It’s what every MMA fighter in England is looking to do. So I blew my knee out, I was back in surgery within a week or so, and then I’d literally only been back training for two weeks after getting money sorted, and I had a bad fall in training — I tore all the ligaments in one of my ankles,” Grant continued.

“It was a really bad one — the three ligaments on the outside of my ankle were ripped completely off the bone. The UFC was not even interested in my story. It took me ages because I was thinking, ‘Oh God, they’re going to think I’m made out of glass.’ I rang them and [matchmaker] Sean [Shelby] was like, ‘Look, don’t worry about it. These things happen. These things happen. You don’t know what the outcome of this situation will be .”


Unfortunately that was not the end for Grant’s poor luck.

After working back to full health from two major surgeries, he suffered his worst injury yet.

“It wasn’t an injury that was more severe in terms of injury-time healing than the other two surgeries, but it didn’t mean I could get surgery. Grant stated, “I couldn’t even jog on the treadmill without feeling in pain. Grant said that he had to get injections into his neck in order to relieve some nerve pains. That one was the last straw and kept him out of action for quite some time. So it turned out to be two-and-a-half years from The Ultimate Fighter to fighting again on the London card.”

In all, Grant wound up being sidelined from late 2013 to early 2016. Due to an injury to his arm, Grant missed two more years, from the late 2016 summer of , but has since competed seven times in UFC Over the past four years.

But despite the rollercoaster ride Grant experienced, Grant stated that he has never considered quitting his dream, which he had always pursued since childhood, even though his circumstances were dire.

” It never crossed my mind because I had done the hard work.” Grant stated. Like my dream, I wanted to fight in UFC. Well, my dream was to get on The Ultimate Fighter and then fight in the UFC, and I’d managed to do both. It wasn’t easy. It was like, ‘Look, you haven’t worked this hard to get there and then to go out and call it a day now.’ It was just more the mental side of just getting through things and still, in between the injuries, still trying to get in the gym, still trying to keep positive, and still trying to get better. It was there but it wasn’t something I thought would be.

” I knew from the beginning that I would make waves .”

once I returned there.

That tenacity paid off. In the aftermath of UFC Vegas 54, Grant has been celebrated as not only a tremendous comeback story, but also one of the most exciting fighters in the UFC’s bantamweight division. And with the UFC set to make another trip to London on July 23, it may be time for “Dangerous” to get the homecoming he lost out on all those years ago.

” If that is the case then I will be available, no problem, Grant stated. “I’m not dealing with any injuries. I can get straight back in the gym, just happy to be back in this world.

“I’m just ready to fight wherever and whenever the UFC wants.”