Figuratively speaking, Gray Maynard has not been involved in a UFC fight since he came up short against Frankie Edgar at UFC 136 in October of 2011. Sure, he did his best to nullify the “offense” of Clay Guida at UFC on FX 4 last June, but that exercise in tedium was less a fight and more like watching your cataract-stricken friend try to wrangle up all the cuccos in Kakariko Village on The Legend of Zelda. Although ”The Bully” was expected to face Joe Lauzon at UFC 155 last December, he was forced out of the bout with a knee injury that has sidelined him ever since.
But if the above gif is any indication, Maynard has been staying quite active on the sidelines and will be more than ready for his return to the octagon on May 25th at UFC 160, where he will face the streaking veteran T.J. Grant in a battle of top contenders. Grant has been on something resembling a killing spree lately, collecting four straight wins including a first round annihilation of Matt Wiman at UFC on Fox 6 last month. The far-and-away most impressive aspect of Grant’s recent wins has been the drastic improvement to his stand up game, an attribute he credits to the time he spent training in Thailand.
In a way, this fight is kind of a lose-lose for Maynard, at least by Ed Soares’ concept of the term. On one hand, Grant would make for another solid win in Maynard’s column, but on the other, he is still a relatively unknown commodity as far as casual audeinces go. While a win for Maynard would pretty much solidify the theory that he is a perennial top contender without likely earning him another title shot, a win for Grant would skyrocket him to the top of the division while sending Maynard careening down the ranks.
Also on tap for UFC 160 is an intriguing battle at lightweight that pits the undefeated Khabib Nurmagomedov against Abel Trujillo, who displayed some of the nastiest knees to the body this side of St. Pierre/Serra 2 in his promotional debut victory over Marcus LeVesseur at UFC on Fox 5. Currently 3-0 in the UFC, Nurmagomedov is on the heels of a first round TKO via hellstorm of elbows over a roided-up Thiago Tavares at UFC on FX 7.
Will Trujillo be able to stop the freight train that is Nurmagomedov, or will the Russian roll through yet another opponent? Let’s just hope both fights are entertaining, or we’re pretty sure all of these dudes will be out of a job come May 26th.