TJ Grant Back to '90-95 Percent,' Hopes for UFC Return in Halifax

Jeremy BotterMMA Senior WriterFebruary 26, 2014

Jun 14, 2013; Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada; T.J. Grant is introduced before weigh ins at UFC 161 at MTS Center. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports
Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports

TJ Grant never got the title shot he was promised, but the top lightweight contender has some good news, at least: He has returned to the gym and is eyeing a return to the UFC this fall.

Grant, 30, was scheduled to face then-champion Benson Henderson last August after winning five consecutive fights. But he suffered a concussion during a grappling session, forcing him to pull out of the fight, and he has been on the sidelines ever since. 

Henderson went on to face Anthony Pettis, who submitted "Smooth" in the UFC 164 main event to take the title. 

May 25, 2013; Las Vegas, NV, USA; TJ Grant punches Gray Maynard during UFC 160 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

But things are looking up for Grant. He told UFC Tonight's Ariel Helwani that he has returned to the gym and is targeting a return to the promotion when the UFC visits Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada for the first time. The event takes place October 4 and will air on Fox Sports 1 as a UFC Fight Night-branded event.

"I'm a lot better than I was. I'm getting closer and closer, I want to approach my return with as much care as I can," Grant told Helwani. "I'm not training full on yet, but I've been getting on the mats and hitting pads, not having any setbacks. I feel about 90-95 percent recovered."

His last appearance in the Octagon came last May at UFC 160, when he knocked out former top contender Gray Maynard in the first round. He is undefeated at lightweight with additional wins over Evan Dunham, Shane Roller and Matt Wiman in addition to the Maynard knockout.