T.J. Grant has not stepped into the Octagon since May 2013. | Photo: Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
The UFC return of former lightweight No. 1 contender T.J. Grant remains very much in doubt.
According to a recent report in the Regina Leader-Post, Grant has taken a job in a potash mine near Bethune, Saskatchewan, in order to support his family.
“To be honest I haven’t really worked a regular job since maybe 2005,” Grant told the Leader-Post. “Basically, I’ve gotta make a living. When you’re injured it’s one of those sports where you can live off what you made for a little bit, but we don’t make that much money so you have to go on to other things.”
Grant has not competed since May 25, 2013, when he defeated Gray Maynard via first-round TKO at UFC 160 for his fifth consecutive victory. That triumph earned the Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia, native a shot at then champion Benson Henderson at UFC 164.
However, Grant suffered a concussion during jiu-jitsu practice prior to that fight and was forced to withdraw. Lingering symptoms kept him on the sidelines, and he eventually lost his No. 1 contender’s spot.
Grant appeared at a pre-fight press conference last August to promote UFC Fight Night in Halifax and at that time said he was targeting a fall 2014 return to the Octagon. Although those plans did not become a reality, Grant told the Leader-Post that he has resumed training, although he avoids taking blows to the head and going 100 percent in sparring.
“In my opinion I’m not done fighting,” Grant said. “I feel 100 percent healthy. It’s just there’s a little bit of hesitation as far as returning to competition. In my heart I want to do it but I’m trying to be smart. I want to make the best decisions I can and make some money while doing it.”
While the 31-year-old has not ruled out a comeback, he will continue to utilize a cautious approach when it comes to his fighting career.
“When you’ve been through what I’ve been through you have to really take your time and come up with a battle plan,” he said. “I also know that, in fighting, there are no guarantees. I have a life to live, I have a mortgage to pay, I have bills. Do I stop working, live off my credit in order to fight when I could get injured? There’s a big risk-reward thing. I’m not ruling it out. I definitely love fighting. I want to do it but why not take a little break and let the rest of the world catch up?”
Grant has competed at both lightweight and welterweight in the UFC, posting an 8-3 mark within the Las Vegas-based promotion. In addition to Maynard, he owns notable wins over the likes of Matt Wiman, Evan Dunham, Carlo Prater, Shane Roller and Ryo Chonan.