It’s been a long, long fight-camp for Grant Dawson.
Now, Dawson finally gets his chance to step back inside the Octagon when he faces Darrick Minner at UFC Norfolk this Saturday.
For Dawson, the bout comes at the end of 18 weeks of preparing to meet Chas Skelly. The two were first originally scheduled for UFC 246 before being re-booked. However, an injury forced Skelly out and opened the door for Minner to make his UFC debut.
“I’ve been in camp for 18 weeks,” Minner told UFC.com. “I’m hungry.”
In Minner, Dawson will be the UFC veteran, but has far less professional experience.
“He’s got more pro fights than I do, but i have more wrestling matches than he does,” Dawson said. “I’ve got more jiu-jitsu matches than he does. I got more backyard fights than he does. Like, what really is experience? I’ve got more experience at the high level than he does.”
Dawson, a native of Stromsburg, Nebraska, is 14-1 in his career with 10 submission and three knockout wins. The 26-year-old is 2-0 in the UFC, scoring a submission over Michael Triznao last May after besting Julian Erosa via decision.
Like Minner, he also appeared on Dana White’s Contender Series, earning a win in 2017 over Adrian Diaz.
“I have to smash this guy,” Dawson said. “That’s the only thing that’s going through my brain. I have to smash this guy, especially this one. He’s makng his debut. He’s trying to get into the UFC, and I’m really happy for him that he got signed, but it’s not going to be good against me.
“I have to smash this guy, and I have to show why I’m the favorite and how much of a level difference there is in this.”