Kendall Grove UFC 80
by Kendall Grove – special to

Former Ultimate Fighter winner Kendall Grove blogs exclusively for leading up to his fight now against Derek Brunson this weekend in Missouri.

In this edition, Grove discusses the change of opponents last minute and how he’s somehow already the underdog just hours after the fight gets made:

Here we go…we’re down to the last few days before my scrap for the ShoFIGHT middleweight championship. There’s been a big change, as my original opponent, Terry Martin, had to drop out. I don’t really know the details on that, but to be honest, I don’t really care. I am ready to fight. That’s all that matters to me. They could put anybody in there with me. Anderson Silva, Chael Sonnen, Luke Rockhold, Tim Kennedy…it doesn’t matter to me. I am ready for whatever.

I am a fighter. This is what I do to make a living. It doesn’t matter who I fight. All I want is the biggest, best fights I can get. I want to leave a legacy. I want titles, yes, but big fights are the goal at this point.

Anyway, I just got word that my new opponent will be Derek Brunson. He’s a Strikeforce fighter, and undefeated…a very tough dude. When I got the call asking if I’d take on Brunson, I said yes without hesitation. I’m ready.

The funny thing is that I’ve already started hearing people question my decision to take the fight on such short notice. Brunson is still on the rise, while most would say Martin has already reached his peak. So most say Brunson is a tougher fight for me. I’m not so sure that’s the case.

Brunson is young. He’s got less than ten fights on his resume. I’ve got twenty-five. So there’s an experience difference.

There’s also quite a difference in the level of competition. I’ve faced guys like Ed Herman, Alan Belcher, Patrick Cote, Evan Tanner, Jason Day, Ricardo Almeida, Jake Rosholt, Mark Munoz, Goran Reljic, Demian Maia, Tim Boetsch, Joe Riggs, Minowaman…all very tough fighters.

Brunson doesn’t have anybody like that on his list. I haven’t fought a “non-name” fighter in seven years. Brunson turned pro just two years ago. So while there’s no question he’s got talent, I’ve got the experience to go along with my skills.

You know, in today’s media-driven society, most fights are seemingly decided before the fighters even get in the cage. And even though the Brunson change just got announced, it seems I’ve already been deemed the underdog.

Some would even say I’ve reached my peak as a fighter, that winning The Ultimate Fighter was the highest mountain I’ll reach in my career. I’ve got to disagree with that. I’m not even thirty yet. I’m still in my prime, and I am ready to prove that I still have a lot left in me.

I will win titles. I will main event more big fight cards. And this Saturday in Springfield, Missouri, I get the chance to prove all that. Too bad Derek Brunson is the one standing in my way.

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