Two years ago Kendall Grove was on top of the world. He came through season three of “The Ultimate Fighter” and beat out Ed Herman in a climactic bout to win the finale and a UFC contract. Now Grove finds himself back on another “Ultimate Fighter Finale” card, but in a much different situation. Coming off two straight knockout losses, he’s fighting to prove he belongs in the UFC, as is his opponent, Evan Tanner.
In this exclusive Cage Potato interview, Grove opened up about what it means to fight for your job, and how he plans to pull himself out of the lowest point of his career and get back in the win column in a fight neither man can afford to lose.
CagePotato.com: Hey, Kendall. Thanks for taking the time to talk with me. What have you been doing in training for this fight to prepare for Evan Tanner?
Kendall Grove: I moved back to Hawaii. I moved back to Maui, but I’ve been in Hilo working with BJ Penn. I’m just getting ready for a fight where anything can happen. Whatever happens, happens. I know he’s going to want to take me down so I’ve been working with some big wrestlers to get ready for that. I’m just ready for war.
Do you expect him to come in with a sense of desperation in this fight?
Yeah, I do. I think we’re in the same position that way. We both need to win. This is a do-or-die fight for both of us.
Does that mean you’re assuming that the loser of this fight will be cut from the UFC?
I think so. Nobody likes a loser. That’s just how it is. I think that makes for a great fight. We’re both fighting for our jobs, you know? When you’re fighting for your job you have to go out there and give it everything you have. That’s all you can do.
What’s it like fighting as the main event for an Ultimate Fighter Finale, fighting for your job, when just two years ago you were fighting as a contestant and it seemed like a high point in your career?
Yeah, it’s weird. I evolved there as a fighter. That’s where I was born into the UFC. I had my ups and suffered some downs since then. But it’s not like I was fighting punks. I was fighting tough guys and I had some tough losses. That’s why I’m in the fight game, to fight tough guys.
It was very nice two years ago to be fighting in the finale and it’s cool to see those guys coming out of it now, but I’m a different person now than I was then.
How are you a different person now? How is the Kendall Grove of today different than the guy who won TUF?