Gray Maynard Draws TJ Grant in Lightweight Showdown at UFC 160

Damon MartinContributor IFebruary 21, 2013

The UFC may find their next No. 1 contender at lightweight in May when Gray Maynard squares off with TJ Grant as part of the UFC 160 card headed to Las Vegas.

The bout marks Grant's fifth fight at lightweight. Maynard returns to action almost a year after his last fight in the Octagon, after dealing with injuries that sidelined him for the better part of the last 12 months.

UFC officials made the announcement about the lightweight fight late Thursday night.

Gray Maynard will look to get back into the title picture when he returns to action in May after knee surgery kept him out of his last scheduled bout in December. The former Michigan State wrestler had to go under the doctor's knife to repair damage to both his medial and lateral meniscus, putting him out of training for more than a month.

Now healthy and back in the gym, Maynard will look to make a strong statement with his next fight and hopefully take one more step towards securing another title shot in the UFC's 155 pound division.

Facing Maynard at UFC 160 will be Canadian grappler and recent lightweight import TJ Grant.

Debuting in the UFC as a welterweight, Grant went 3-3 overall, but never looked outclassed even against bigger fighters at the time. Grant lost a very close majority decision to current top-ranked UFC welterweight Johny Hendricks in 2010, but eventually made the move down to lightweight where he's shown true dominance.

Grant has gone 4-0 since dropping to 155 pounds, and after besting Evan Dunham at UFC 152, he returned and obliterated Matt Wiman by knockout in the first round at UFC on FOX 6 in January.

Now, Grant has his best and biggest shot to make a real impact in the lightweight division as he faces a former title contender in Gray Maynard. 

With champion Benson Henderson battling Gilbert Melendez in April, and current top lightweight contender Anthony Pettis dropping down to 145 pounds for a showdown with featherweight champion Jose Aldo in August, the fight between Maynard and Grant could be pivotal in the UFC lightweight championship picture.


Damon Martin is a featured columnist for Bleacher Report.