While he didn’t have quite the proper UFC debut he would have liked this past March, featherweight Grant Dawson is nonetheless pleased have come out with a victory.
Facing Julian Erosa at UFC on ESPN+ 4, Dawson was able to overcome a year and a half layoff to pick up a unanimous decision victory.
“I got the win and that’s all that matters,” Dawson told MMAWeekly.com. “I’m always hard on myself. I wish I would have gotten the finish. It’s the first time I’ve won without getting a finish. I’m happy it happened, but I would have liked to have finished.”
While such a long layoff was far from intentional, Dawson was able to use it to his advantage and improve his overall game.
“My coach (jokingly) said one of the worst things that could have happened was they gave me 365 days to get better, and he was right,” said Dawson. “I feel like my game overall has improved.
“The cool thing about having so much time off was that I didn’t have to focus on anybody but myself. I wasn’t preparing for anybody in specific, so it was okay for me to do really whatever I wanted in training. I feel like that really helped me get better as a full blown well-rounded mixed martial artist.”
On Saturday in Rochester, New York, Dawson (13-1) looks to pick up his fifth win in a row when he faces Mike Trizano (8-0) in a featherweight preliminary bout at UFC on ESPN+ 10.
“If you add up his amateur record, his pro record, and his record in the fight house, he’s 18-0. He’s never lost before,” Dawson said of Trizano. “That’s a challenge. That’s something I’ve never faced before, and that’s really exciting to me.
“How do we beat a guy who has never lost? We don’t know. I have my game plan set to play, and I think it’s what needs to be done to beat him, and we’re going to find out. I’m excited to be the first man to hand him a loss.”
Following such a long layoff before he could finally step into the UFC, Dawson is eager to make up for lost time in 2019.
“I have my own road map for myself but I’m ready to go fight by fight,” said Dawson. “Barring nothing setting me back in this fight, I want to fight in July and keep this going.
“Now I finally have the opportunity to do what I love and do it at the highest level. I really want to do it as much as possible. I’m young now, I’m not in my prime yet, so I want to get in as many fights as possible now so when I do hit my prime I’m ready for a title shot and ready to be the best in the world.”