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Grant Dawson anxious to enter UFC rankings, makes case for fights with Diego Ferreira, Brad Riddell or Dan Hooker

After his UFC on ESPN 35 victory, 'KGD' is hoping to get a shot at a ranked lightweight.

After submitting a durable Jared Gordon at this past weekend's UFC on ESPN 35 event, 28-year-old lightweight prospect Grant Dawson is ready for his chance to break into the promotion's official rankings.

"I feel really good," Dawson told MMA Underground. "I feel like I answered a lot of questions from my my Ricky Glenn fight. I feel like I beat a really good guy. I think a lot of fans don't realize how good he is because he's not a loud mouth. He's not somebody that's promoting himself verbally very much, but he lets his fighting do the talking, and I think he's a very, very good win under my belt, especially being the first person to ever submit him that. That's pretty cool to me."

The submission win was the 12th such result in Dawson's career, but this one was especially sweet. In his previous outing, Dawson (18-1-1 MMA, 6-0-1 UFC) earned the first two rounds against Glenn but then saw his opponent rally for a dominant 10-8 final frame, forcing "KGD" to settle for a draw. 

At UFC on ESPN 35, Dawson was able to score the fight-ending submission with less than a minute remaining, proving he's just as dangerous late in fights as he is in the early going.

"I think I can fairly prove that that was a one-time thing," Dawson said. "No excuses. You know, the (Glenn) fight is what it is. I won the first two. He won the third, but I've got a late finish in my fight before that in the third round with one second left in the entire fight. Now I have another finish in the third round. I can push a hard pace. I can answer those questions. 

"I can be a championship fighter. I think I've answered those, and I think I'm ready for what's next."

What's next would seem to be someone in the UFC's official lightweight rankings. Dawson admits he's taken a look, and he says he's not asking for anything crazy. He's willing to work his way up the list, and as he surveys the current No. 13, 14 and 15, he thinks they would all make for appropriate pairings.

"There's three fights that make sense to me, and that's Diego Ferreira, Brad Riddell and Dan Hooker," Dawson said. "I think that's 15, 14 and 13. I don't think they're going to give me Brad Riddell. I think they want to save him for more of a striker's delight because he's really exciting and he's really gritty, and I don't think they want a grappler vs. striker with him, so I think they'll get him probably another exciting fighter like they did with (Rafael) Fiziev and whatnot, but the Diego Ferreira fight makes the most sense to me. We were scheduled to fight. He got injured. You know, I hope he's doing well. I hope that his rib is healing up and he'll be ready to get back in there soon, because I think that's the fight that makes the most sense. 

"Also, Dan Hooker said that he wants to go back to lightweight and do another one at lightweight. I'm also interested in that fight. He's a big name. He's kind of on a down skid, so can he can he push back another young contender like he did against Nasrat (Haqparast) or am I the real deal?"

Dawson not only proposes the matchups, but he sells the storylines, as well. 

Already back in the gym at his new home in American Top Team, Dawson said he'd take a little time to just observe practices for a bit while he heals up from this past weekend's fight, but he'll stay focused on improving all the while. He's hoping his opportunity against a ranked opponent will come next, though he admits he'll take anyone the UFC offers up. There's only one condition: It has to be before Nov. 20.

"I'm going to take this week off, and then my teammate Thiago Moises is getting ready for a fight, and the guy that he's fighting is a lot like me, so I'm going to be right back in the camp to help him get ready for his fight," Dawson said. "I get married November 20, and so I have to fight before November 20, which I don't feel like is a stretch because that's like six months away, something like that. I feel like that's very doable, so anytime after this week and before November 20, hit me up."

To see the full interview with Dawson, check out the video above.