Mike Grundy is taking a must-win approach heading into his next fight.
Grundy (12-3 MMA, 1-2 UFC) meets Makwan Amirkhani in the UFC’s targeted return to London on March 19, where he’ll look to snap a two-fight losing skid. After stopping Nad Narimani in his UFC debut, Grundy has dropped back-to-back competitive decision losses to Movsar Evloev and Lando Vannata.
But the standout wrestler thinks he’s yet to live up to his full potential and hopes he’s able to have a standout performance against Amirkhani (16-7 MMA, 6-5 UFC).
“My back’s a little bit against the wall,” Grundy told MMA Junkie. “The fights that I’ve had and I’ve lost, they’ve both been close – especially the last one against Lando. That was a close split decision. It could have gone either way. I don’t feel any of us deserved the 30-27, which one of the judges gave. It was just a close fight, but I came out on the losing end of the stick.
“I don’t know, I still feel there’s so much more to give from me. Definitely I feel there’s a lot more to give, and I’m hoping that’s they way it’s going to be when I’m under pressure and my back’s against the wall and I’m fighting Makwan. I think maybe that’s my time to shine, and usually when I’m put under a bit of pressure, I can still perform.”
Grundy and Amirkhani were previously booked to fight in London in 2020, but the event was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Grundy was already deep into his training camp so he has a pretty good gauge of what he’s up against.
Since their scrapped bout, Amirkhani has gone 1-4, dropping his past three in a row. With both men boasting a grapple-heavy approach in their fights, Grundy thinks if Amirkhani sticks to his usual game plan, it’ll play in his favor.
“I think I’m looking at a similar guy, but we’re both coming off a couple of losses,” Grundy said. “I think he’s had three losses. I’ve had a couple of losses. So we’re both kind of fighting for our jobs really, and that’s what’s going to make the fight interesting. I think we’re both going to train as hard as we possibly can and we’re both going to bring it to the fight and it’s going to be an entertaining fight on the night – possibly the ‘Fight of the Night.’ So we’re both fighting for our life.
“His grappling is pretty good. But it seems the more he grapples, the more he tires, whereas me, I can wrestle all day. With him, I feel like he jumps on something and if it doesn’t work, he seems to panic a little bit and that’s when he starts to get tired. I think I beat him in the grappling department. I’m fully confident in that. Anyone in the featherweight division, I’m confident in the wrestling and grappling department. I think at some point he’s going to try and take me down, but that’ll be his mistake because it’s going to get him more tired. I’m going to tire him and I’m going to finish him within the second round.”