UFC featherweight Mike Grundy (12-3) is a former Commonwealth games wrestling medallist and team member of Team Kaobon. I sat down with Mike to discuss his previous fights, his son’s MMA career, the wrestling scene in the UK, and his planned return to the Octagon in 2022.
Interview with Mike Grundy
We’re six months removed from your last fight now, how are you feeling?
Mike Grundy – “Yeah I’m good, I’ve had an operation since my last fight on my elbow. It was a bit of wear and tear, after my last fight my elbow was sore and I tried to carry on training and saw a physio who thought I’d injured a ligament. After a couple of months of rehab, I realised it wasn’t that so I had an MRI and it turns out I had extra bone growing in my arm which is why I could never straighten my arm. I had the operation which put me out for another 6 weeks or so although I’m back to full training now.
I saw on your social media that you posted about your son Jack Grundy having an amateur lightweight bout on Almighty FC which he won by first-round TKO. How has it been having your son become one of your training partners in the gym?
Mike Grundy – “We had trouble matching him up originally but the kid he fought (Alex Williams) is a good lad, multiple jiu-jitsu champion, and second in the world at IMMAFs, both 16 and both big prospects, Jack managed to get the win by first-round TKO. He’s just turning 17 now and to be honest he’s just like one of the lads in the gym. He comes to Team Kaobon in Liverpool 3 times a week when he’s not in college and he’s a tough training partner for anybody. I know he’s always watching my career and learning and listening so I’m always trying to teach him not to make the same mistakes as me.”
I wanted to talk to you about your wrestling background. The UK has never been renowned for it’s wrestling abilities, as a country we seem to be lacking in that respect. Can you tell me about how you started and how you view the UK wrestling scene as a whole, how can it be improved?
Mike Grundy – “It’s not popular over here, I think there are definitely some things that need to change within the British Wrestling Association, they need to get more organised with the competitions. I mean I have my own club and we have about 50 kids on the mat for wrestling every Monday and Wednesday which is a lot of kids for any sport. That shows it can be popular if it’s applied right, I think the kids start getting fed up at a certain age when they start going to competitions because of the way they are running them. You can go to a wrestling competition, say your first ever one, and then get matched against me in your first match, I’ve been wrestling for 20 years! This just means the kids get fed up with going to competitions and getting leathered by much more experienced wrestlers.”
You’ve had three fights in the UFC now, one win and two losses on the bounce. You’ve not had the easiest run and you’ve been matched with Movsar Evloev who is undefeated and then after that loss, the UFC gives you a tough match-up in Lando Vannata at UFC 262. Going into your next fight do you feel as if your back is up against the wall?
Mike Grundy – “I think coming off two losses your back is always against the wall in the UFC, they’ve been known to cut people after two losses. I’ve had those two losses, which were close! Evloev was an ex-M1 champion, unbeaten, and has beat some great prospects, it was a close fight I could have had him finished in the first, 90 percent of people would have tapped to that choke. Lando Vannata is also a great fighter, a tough matchup for anyone in the lightweight or featherweight division. That fight was close too, some people have even said they thought I could’ve won that one, personally I watched it back and still couldn’t make a decision. To be honest with you I’ve never had the easy route, it was the same with my wrestling career and it looks like it’ll be that way in the UFC, my next fight will be a win, I will make it right.”
You’ve said you’re looking to book a fight for early next year, are there any names in particular or have you been offered anybody yet?
Mike Grundy – “No not yet, everyone’s talking about possibly UFC London in March but I haven’t heard it officially yet. If it is then that’s where I want to be, in front of my home crowd. I haven’t got any names really, although maybe I should start running my mouth a bit more and asking for who I want! I was supposed to fight Makwan Amirkhani in London before the pandemic, he’s a good matchup, we’re both coming off a couple of losses. There are some good fights out there, give me a striker who can’t wrestle!”
With the current pool of UK fighters coming through do you think the UFC will try and get you all on the same card in London or even Liverpool?
Mike Grundy – “Yeah, there’s a lot of talent knocking about now in the UFC, Paddy Pimblett is in there now, Molly McCann, Darren Till, and Tom Aspinall there’s a lot of us especially from Liverpool!”
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