England’s David Grant came into The Ultimate Fighter 18 on an eight-fight winning streak and the goal of joining Michael Bisping, Ross Pearson, James Wilks, and Norman Parke as British winners of the reality series.
He submitted Danny Martinez by armbar to earn his place in the fighter house. During the elimination round, he defeated Louis Fisette by rear naked choke to advance to the semifinal round.
Everything was going as planned. He had earned $10,000 in finishing bonuses and was ready to prove he belonged in the finals. He was supposed to face Anthony Gutierrez, but Gutierrez failed to make weight and Grant was declared the winner by forfeit.
“I've dreamed about that moment of getting to The Ultimate Fighter Finale so many times and never once did I ever get there by default,” Grant said during a recent media conference call.
He felt cheated out of the opportunity to put his skillset on display for the world to see. Although he received a free pass to the finals, he felt robbed.
“I'm a fighter, I wanted to fight, I wanted to earn my way and that was really a disappointment,” he said. “I wanted to show the world that I could do it. I felt that I got cheated out of my final fight. And I just didn't want to be the guy who was remembered as the guy who got to the Finale by default.”
Grant was Coach Ronda Rousey’s second male pick during team selections. The husband and father got along so well with Rousey during the season that he uprooted and spent his training camp in California with the UFC women’s bantamweight champion.
“I got along really so well with Ronda on the show. I mean, I've got a lot of respect for her. I thought it was brilliant experience and that I got along with them so well,” he said
“I wanted to get used to the time difference, used to the weather, humidity and things like that. And it just seemed like I was just so comfortable with them it just seemed like the right thing to do, so there was no doubt in my mind that it would benefit me to go and train there,” he added.
The only thing standing in his way of becoming the fifth Englishman to be crowned as The Ultimate Fighter is undefeated Chris Holdsworth.