Grant Dawson, after his impressive victory over Damir Ismagulov at UFC Vegas 76, believes that the lightweight division is the best weight class in MMA. He expressed his satisfaction with the win, acknowledging the skill and reputation of his opponent, who he believes is better than his No. 12 ranking suggests. Dawson emphasized the difficulty of competing in the lightweight division, stating that it is the toughest weight class in the world, even though the bantamweight division at 135 pounds could be considered challenging as well due to the presence of former champions.
Dawson recognizes the depth and competitiveness of the UFC’s lightweight division, and while his win should elevate his ranking, he understands that he still has a long way to go before earning a title shot. However, he is not overly concerned about the timeline and believes that opportunities will present themselves in due course.
Discussing different fighters’ paths to success, Dawson mentioned Islam Makhachev’s journey, which included facing tough opponents and mixing in bouts against less challenging opponents. He also praised his teammate Mateusz Gamrot for fearlessly calling out tough opponents like Rafael Fiziev. Dawson acknowledges that each fighter’s path is unique and intends to focus on improving himself in the gym.
One challenge for Dawson in advancing in the lightweight rankings is the fact that he trains with several other ranked fighters at American Top Team, including Mateusz Gamrot, Arman Tsarukyan, and Renato Moicano. He stated that he has no interest in fighting Moicano or Gamrot due to their close friendships, but fighting Tsarukyan could be a possibility under the right circumstances.
Dawson expressed his interest in a matchup with the winner of the upcoming fight between Dan Hooker and Jalin Turner, both of whom are ranked in the top 15. He believes that the timing and the matchup align well for him, indicating his willingness to take on that challenge.