by Mitch Gobetz – MMAWeekly.com
Kendall Grove is looking to return to his winning ways at UFC 80 in Newcastle, England when he takes on the very tough Jorge Rivera.
Grove was on quite a roll for a while. After beating Ed Herman in a memorable fight from season three of The Ultimate Fighter, he went on to defeat Chris Price and Alan Belcher.
Last August, at UFC 74, he suffered his first loss in the Ultimate Fighting Championship after getting dropped by Patrick Cote. Grove was doing well in the fight until Cote clipped him behind the ear and left him dazed. Once he fell, Cote finished him.
Now that he’s on the comeback trail, Grove has been training very hard for this fight with Rivera and for good reason. Rivera is a seasoned veteran who’s fought with some of the best fighters in the world such as Rich Franklin, Anderson Silva, Lee Murray and David Loiseau. But Grove is confident in his training and is ready to get back in there.
“I couldn’t of asked for better training,” he exclaimed. “I came up to Big Bear for this one. I just can’t wait to fight.”
“Da Spyder” definitely believes that his loss to Cote was a good thing and has refocused him to train harder than ever.
“When you lose, you definitely don’t want to lose again,” explained Grove. “That’s what motivates you to get on it. I pushed my cardio and I pushed my stand-up even more. I made some mistakes in my last fight and I don’t want to make the same mistakes again.”
When asked why he went to Big Bear instead of Las Vegas, Grove said, “(To) get my head right. I had to shake some cobwebs in there from the last fight. I just can’t wait to get back in the cage.
When you’re (at Big Bear), it’s such a small town. The elevation helps and all, but I come up there for the seclusion.
“I just got too comfortable in Vegas cause the Strip’s right there, and a lot of people and things. It’s easy to get sidetracked. There’re very little things to do up here except train, which is why I come up here.”
After his loss to Cote, he started to find out who his true friends are. According to Grove, losing helped him get a focus on everything in his life.
“Even though I lost, I learned so much in my personal life, in MMA and my career.”
Rivera has been out almost a year since his loss to Terry Martin in February of 2007. As we’ve seen with many of the Pride fighters who had a long layoff, ring rust definitely could play a factor in this fight. Grove, however, doesn’t necessarily believe that just because a fighter isn’t active, it doesn’t mean they aren’t training.
“It depends on how he’s been training,” said the Hawaiian native. “If he’s been sparring a lot and pushing himself, it might not affect him. It might help him. It all depends on how he trained.”
While a good majority of fighters go out to fight with a specific game plan, Grove is one of the ones who doesn’t. He won’t go out there careless, but in the same instance, he just enjoys fighting.
“I’m not going to go in there balls out and be stupid. I just go out there and fight. I go out there and fight to the best of my abilities.”
After a fighter has a loss, they have a tendency to come out tentative because they are afraid of possibly losing again. When asked about an expectation the fans can have about his fight with Rivera, Grove reassured the fans that his fight will not be boring.
“My fans are gonna expect the same ‘Spyder’ like they’ve seen on the show… exciting. Some ground and pound. Look for some submissions. As long as I go in there and give it all I got, that’s all I need in my eyes.”