No. 10 ranked lightweight contender Grant Dawson hopes to see Sean Strickland defending his newly won middleweight world title against Dricus Du Plessis before anyone else.
On October 7, Dawson will step into the main event spotlight for a scrap with 155-pound fan favorite Bobby Green. ‘KGD’ enters the bout undefeated in his UFC tenure, carrying eight victories and one draw.
Before returning to The APEX next month, Dawson sat down with James Lynch in a MiddleEasy exclusive interview to talk about last weekend’s UFC 293 card. Specifically, Sean Strickland’s shocking unanimous decision victory over two-time titleholder Israel Adesanya.
“Crazy man. If he was going to win, I thought it would be by knockout,” Dawson said. “I thought he would catch him and he almost did in the first. I feel like Izzy kinda came out with the same mentality against Yoel Romero and Yoel Romero just couldn’t capitalize on it. And what do I know about Izzy, but I think that his problem is that he’s willing to have these close fights and let the judges dictate what’s going on.
“I just feel like he should have been a little bit more urgent in those third, fourth, and fifth rounds.”
Just spoke to Grant Dawson who mentioned that it was down to him, Bobby Green and Jalin Turner for the #UFCVegas80 main event
Grant isn't sure why Turner wasn't picked, but he said yes to both fighters. He fights Green on Oct. 7
— James Lynch (@LynchOnSports) September 11, 2023
Following the event, UFC President Dana White suggested that an immediate rematch between Strickland and Adesanya was in order. However, that would leave the division’s top-ranked contender, Dricus Du Plessis, sitting on the sidelines despite being the undisputed No. 1 ranked fighter in the weight class.
Asked which fight he would prefer to see, Grant Dawson hopes DDP gets his much-deserved nod.
“I think that Du Plessis should get the next shot and I would really like to see that fight play out because both guys are really really good and very untechnical,” Dawson said. “I shouldn’t say untechnical. They have a very unique way of fighting. Strickland has this weird shifty boxing style and Du Plessis is just all over the place. I really think that his game place is, ‘You don’t know what I’m doing because I don’t know what I’m doing.’
“He’s an odd duck and man, I just don’t think he’s a very good fighter, but he keeps winning fights. And I wouldn’t say that to his face because he’d beat me up, but he keeps winning fights so that’s the fight that I want to see. I’d also love to see [Jared] Cannonier back in there with Strickland. I feel like Strickland, when he got knocked out by Alex [Pereira], he was hesitant against Cannonier because Cannonier has really good power as well.”
Last December, Jared Cannonier edged Sean Strickland via split decision in a bout that left a lot to be desired. Both fighters were hesitant to engage during the 25-minute affair, something that Dawson believes won’t be an issue in a potential rematch with Strickland’s newfound confidence following UFC 293.
“I do think the next fight if they do him and Cannonier, would be a lot closer and less boring because I think Strickland would open up with him more,” Dawson added.
Grant Dawson Doesn’t See Khamzat Chimaev Getting the Shot, Even with a Win Over Paulo Costa at UFC 294
Another potential challenger for Sean Strickland could emerge at UFC 294 in October when one-time title challenger Paulo Costa returns to take on undefeated Chechen monster Khamzat Chimaev. Should Chimaev secure his seventh-straight win in the Octagon, he could very well be pushed into pole position for a middleweight title shot.
However, Dawson believes a win for ‘Borz’ won’t necessarily result in a title opportunity for him, taking into consideration his notoriously long stretches of inactivity between fights.
“I think after he beats Costa, we’re not gonna see him for another year,” Dawson suggested. “I really believe that. And then he’ll be like, ‘No I’m gonna go down to 170. No, I’m gonna stay at 185. I don’t know this, I’m just guessing, but I think there’s something in Khamzat that wants a little bit more time before he’s put into a title shot and I think what he’s doing is he’s beating a guy and taking time to get better.”
He continued, “That indecisiveness, I think he’s just trying to build his skill. He’s not mentally ready for that shot in his mind and he’s trying to build that shield.”