Back at the Top of the Mountain, Kendall Grove Ready to Take Bellator Crown

After over 10 years of active fighting and an even longer time wanting to become a professional fighter, former Ultimate Fighter winner Kendall “Da Spyder” Grove has an opportunity to win his first major MMA championship.

Following his release from the UFC in 2011, Grove bounced around a bit before signing with Bellator in 2013. And after an impressive win over former promotional champion Christian M’Pumbu in October, has earned his title shot.

“He was a former light-heavyweight champ making his 185-pound debut, so I was taking the fight seriously,” said Grove of M’Pumbu. “I was coming off a loss against Brett Cooper, so I wanted to make a statement.

“I wanted to go in there and get the finish and work my way back to the top. And here I am less than a year later fighting for the title.”

Having fought on big stages before, Grove told MMAWeekly.com that he was undeterred by M’Pumbu’s credentials as a former titlist.

“A fight’s a fight and I just felt all around better than him,” said Grove. “All the credit goes to my camp. They try to take my head off and kick my ass every day in the gym.”

Grove (21-14, 1NC) has the same approach for when he challenges Brandon Halsey (8-0) in Temecula, Calif., on May 15 for the Bellator middleweight title.

“Obviously he’s a great wrestler, so that’s what he’s going to try to do,” Grove said of Halsey. “He’s a one-trick pony who is going to try to get that single (leg takedown) and try to hump me to death.

“I’ve got good jiu-jitsu, good wrestling defense and much better striking than him, and I intend on proving it.”

While fighting for a belt is a big thing, Grove isn’t letting that be the focus of May 15.

“At the end of the day a title is great. It’s a ceremonial trophy, but a fight’s a fight,” he said. “This is my livelihood. I’m going to go out there and fight my ass off like I know I’m going to win and make a good fight.”

A title allows Grove to continue fighting and to support his family and live the dream he’s been working hard at continuing for some while.

“I go to a job every day that’s been a dream of mine for the last 15 years and I can’t ask for a better one,” said Grove. “Now I get a chance to become a world champion. So it’s like my career has come full circle.

“I’ve had a lot of ups and downs. I’ve made it to the highest point and fell down, and now I’ve crawled my way back up to the top of the mountain fighting for a world title in Bellator.”

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