by Jeff Cain – MMAWeekly.com (photo courtesy of KendallGrovemma.com)
The UFC middleweight division is by no means shallow, but Anderson Silva has single-handily cleared out the weight class, and if he defeats Rich ‘Ace’ Franklin at UFC 77 October 20, in Cincinnati, Ohio again, it will surely be said that there’s no competition for the reigning champion.

With Silva literally mowing down the competition, Kendall Grove could be on the fast track for a title shot, provided he gets past Patrick Cote August 25, at UFC 74, but Grove doesn’t think he’s ready at this point in his career.

“Right now, I feel I’m not ready for him. I’m all about giving the fans a good fight, and to jump in there right now with him, I just feel he’ll destroy me. Give me a year, maybe a year and a half to better my skills, and I’ll jump in there with him. You know what I’m saying? Hopefully when, if the UFC goes to Hawaii. That will be about a year and a half from now. When I’m ready I feel like I should get a shot, and no disrespect to anyone else in the weight division. I just want to climb that ladder and get my respect and pay my dues just like the rest of these great fighters at the 185 weight class have been doing. I don’t want to cut in line in front of nobody, step on nobodies toes. I just want to mature and grow as a fighter,” Grove told MMAWeekly.

Kendall continued, “The old Kendall Grove would step in there any time, but I can’t be thinking about gung-ho fights. I’m thinking about my career, and like I said, putting on good shows. Give me a year and a half to mature more as a fighter and I’ll step in there with the best.”

Kendall made it clear who he’d like to fight after Cote. He said, “Not looking past Cote, but I wouldn’t mind having [Jason] MacDonald next…He considers himself the TUF killer. Lets see him beat a TUF champion.”

We’ve seen some key players in the middleweight division stumble recently. Rich Franklin has lost to Anderson Silva once, but has worked himself back into a title bout. Yushin Okami, who holds a disqualification win over Silva, lost to Franklin at UFC 72 in June. Mike ‘Quick’ Swick has moved down to the welterweight division after suffering a loss to Okami at UFC 69. Nate Marquardt just lost to Silva at UFC 73. Jason MacDonald was stopped by Franklin at UFC 68. With Grove being “The Ultimate Fighter” season 3 winner and having an undefeated (3-0) UFC record, that line Kendall spoke of may not be that long.