Kendall Grove is fighting to keep his name near the top of Bellator's Middleweight division.
A mixture of veterans and young blood, the 34-year old Hawaiian reached the top, but ultimately dropped a 185 pound title fight to Brandon Halsey in 2015. With names like Neimann Gracie, John Salter, Melvin Manhoef, and Grove's original Bellator 174 opponent Chris Honeycutt, Grove knows he has to be crafty to stay caught up.
"It's growing. It's a new wave of fighter coming up. I'm trying to hold it down for the OG's here. These kids really wake you up, the new generation keeping me on my toes. I'm fighting to keep my name in the annals of MMA history," Grove told Fightful.com
When I mentioned that our last interview highlighted Grove being rather outspoken in regards to Alexander Shlemenko's suspension (or lack thereof), Grove said he's not stepping off the gas any time soon, but won't let it distract him. Before Honeycutt withdrew due to injury and was replaced by Mike Rhodes, Grove explained his feelings towards his planned opponent.
"We have a Twitter relationship, we don't like each other. We get to go out there and express our feelings next weekend. I respect him. He does what I do every day. I fucked up in the past not respecting my opponent. I don't have to like him as a person -- I don't even know him as a person. I kind of don't. He seems like a cool guy, but I'm fighting him so FUCK YOU!" exclaimed Grove.
Despite Honeycutt's decorated, All-American wrestling background, Grove didn't seem too concerned. Grove, who has a win over UFC Top-10 Middleweight Derek Brunson says he's seen it all.
"If he does (show me something I haven't seen), it'll surprise the shit out of me. Mark Munoz, Demian Maia, Brunson, Shlemenko, M'Pumbu, Alan Belcher, he'll surprise the shit out of me if he shows me something I haven't seen," said Grove.
Bellator 174 takes place Friday, March 4 from the Winstar Casino And Resort in Thackerville, Oklahoma. Fightful will have full, live coverage and discussion of the event.