MMA veteran Mike Grundy ‘good to go’ despite 12 days’ notice to face former UFC champion

Wigan’s Mike Grundy has no concerns about a lack of preparation as he gets set to face former UFC bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling – on just 12 days’ notice.

Grundy will take on Sterling in a grappling event at the Polaris 25 event in Wales next Saturday September 30.

London-born featherweight prospect Nathaniel Wood was initially booked for the match but a late call-up to fight in the UFC – the premier global MMA competition – on October 21 means he had to pull out of the match with Sterling.

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This gave Grundy – a former bronze medal winner in wrestling at the Commonwealth Games – the chance to step forward and take a chance to impress against a long-reigning UFC champion.

And despite the short turnaround, Grundy told Mancunian Matters: “I’m good to go. I’ve been training, I’m always training, I’ve always looked after myself, it’s just a case of fine-tuning a few things.”

Sterling became UFC bantamweight champion in March 2021 and defended his belt three times before he was defeated via knockout by rival Sean O’Malley last month.

“Aljo is a tricky opponent for grappling,” said Grundy. “He won the UFC belt with grappling, you just got to watch the guy doesn’t take your back.

“I honestly think that Aljo will come back and win that belt back, I 100 per cent thought that Aljo was going to win the last fight.”

Grundy acknowledged that a win over such a respected champion would set him up for a return to the top divisions of MMA.

Having left the UFC, with a record of one win from four fights, he now has his sights trained on cracking the PFL, a rival promotion which has grown in popularity in the past few months since signing star heavyweight Francis Ngannou and controversial Youtuber Jake Paul.

“My plan is to go to the PFL next year,” said Grundy. “I spoke to the guy who is running the Europe side of things and he seems to want me in the tournament next year.

“I’ve got a goal to go and win it and then finish on a high.”

For this reason, the 36-year-old is “looking forward to” his upcoming grappling match as he is excited to display that he still has plenty to give this sport by “putting on a show and showcasing my wrestling and my grappling”.

He admits he put a lot of pressure on himself in the UFC and “always felt that I needed to win every time I performed”.

Now, as he enters the twilight of his career, Grundy added: “I’m just enjoying the process and enjoying the journey really.”

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