Ep. #76 – Dwight Grant

Dwight Grant is a mixed martial artist who competes in the Welterweight division of the UFC. He earned a UFC contract by winning on Dana White’s Contender Series and has finished seven of his ten victories by way of knockout.


Dwight Grant: Perfect, obviously um so ben how you been how’s, uh how’s your day, going uh pretty good, just uh uh. I was training and then, when i talked to you earlier, i was like in the car afterwards like driving up my wife and my son around like getting like groceries and stuff like packing up the house, how uh? How has quarantine been for you? How has uh, how has training been throughout the pandemic and everything that’s going on uh? Well, it’s been a it’s been a right. Now i mean in beginning it was kind of rough because you know we had to uh. We had to pretty much stop stop training. You know we won’t be able to get to the get to the gym. I had a fight that was, i wanted to have in april that i couldn’t have, because you know everything going on and i wasn’t sure if i’d be able to make weight and train properly, so that kind of had to stop. But as of recently like especially uh the last like month or so, it has been pretty good, you know, train’s been really good and i’ve been able to, like you know, schedule things with my coaches, so i can train with them and now i’ll get good workouts. In what sorts of alterations uh did you make uh i’m in canada still so things are still kind of uh like slow? Here they haven’t opened anything up yet so it’s been like primarily cardio for people here, but what sorts of things did you do throughout the pandemic to kind of stay in shape? Um? Oh, that’s in shape! Well, i was doing uh. I was doing sprints uh, like you know, like hills, friends, uh, that that was like, like the kickoff of uh, like a couple days of the week and then uh, you know like a lot of cardio stuff in the house, but i couldn’t really do like real. Like running and jumping stuff in the house, because uh we were staying at a an apartment and you know you can’t be jumping up and down doing burpees, yeah and uh, and it was a weird situation because outside uh they were doing construction. So when i tried to go outside to work out like like on this in the street, it would be like eight nine construction workers. Looking at you know, so it was a weird uh setup, but over time you know, um, i managed to come out with a program that was uh. I would say maximum efficiency. You know and like a minimum jumping up and down you know, so i got to stay in shape, pretty good. So now that your fight’s been announced, how are you feeling uh must feel good to finally have uh have another name um. You know to look forward to uh. Well, i mean it’s just i’m pretty excited now, because you know there’s a lot of ups and downs since last year and trying to get can i get back into the octagon and also you know getting opponents and then all these things like that? It’S been a lot of stuff going on, so for me, it’s great to have somebody to fight and also you know, have an opportunity to fight, because you know in the beginning it seemed like we wouldn’t be fighting for a long time. Here’S one thing i was like wow, so i’m happy that uh this has been going so smoothly like as far as all the investment going smoothly and they’ve been like taking all the proper precautions to make things work out and for me you know not to just Focus on you know, going out there and expressing myself properly, you know getting the best form of uh expression for me is being able to compete. You know and be able to fight, because this like what my life is kind of based on yeah. So i get to do that, so i’m pretty happy about it. Yeah. You did spend uh quite a bit of time on the sidelines after after your last fight what sorts of things uh took place there like what was it injuries? Was it not finding fights or was it a combination of both that really kept you on the sidelines? It was just injuries uh, it was a lot of. It was real up and down situation. Uh i got injured. I turned my bicep and i didn’t know, but i also broke my foot in the fight. Also um and the bicep thing was was was obvious yeah, so i ended up um going to uh going to get surgery and it was taken care of and it was pretty mechanical the way it healed. The heel like within man, i was like a month or two. I only said like two months because it happened in in uh april and by august i was training again like like all out training. You know i was pretty big though, but i was training. You know but um, but then around that time, when i [ __ ] find them back now. I’M training i find my foot was broken and i had to like, you know, take a whole step back and that was actually a more dangerous injury than the bicep one. So then, i had to you know, sit back and watch that whole thing heal and now to be completely mobilized. I can’t, like you, know, drive or walk around on my foot’s healing so that that was like the up and down part and then and then there’s more. You know uh when we got to this fight in april. You know when i’m looking forward to fighting again in april uh the pandemic goes down and then all the fights get canceled yeah. So that’s what i’m saying when i say i’m happy to be fighting right now. I’M ecstatic, you know, i’m excited to be able to compete because it really was a lot of ups and downs. I find uh in the in the eyes of a lot of the mma uh fans. It’S always there’s a little bit of recency bias. You know you’re always like. Oh my god. I remember him from like two weekends ago, but you had a big fin over. You know a high-level fighter and alan jo ben over a year ago kind of disappears off people’s radars like yeah. It was a huge win. You haven’t fought in like over a year um, so it’s kind of like how does it feel now i mean you have to feel like this. This fight here fighting a newcomer, a very, very tough jerry gooden, almost feels does it feel like a step back to you like you just had a huge win should really be jumped for the a bigger name, and do you get a guy a guy like that? How does it feel, oh for me like uh, like my my whole upbringing and fighting, is like uh, i guess pretty old school, because uh before you know, we never would know who we were fighting until we got to the venue you know like you would hear. Somebody’S name – and you would like you know, look for somebody that looks like that person’s name. You know and then, like what’s the scales, you know you want to win you kind of know who you’re fighting. So for me, this kind of fight. It doesn’t feel like a step back because i’m just used to fighting people randomly anyway, like you could buy somebody who was like really like a world champion and then, like a month later by somebody who was like you know, only had a couple fights locally and And what i’ve learned from having that kind of experience is that all fights are hard. You know like it doesn’t matter if the guy is is skilled at a certain certain like okay, let me let me explain it properly. You know it sounds crazy at a certain skill level, it doesn’t matter who you fight right, because if you’re able to compete with the best guys in the world right, then you can fight with them and and defeat them. But then you might find a guy. Who is not as well known was also very tough, you know and it’ll be a difficult fight. You know it’s not about whether you can hit them or not. It has like a lot of variables like how many hits can they take. You know like uh like how much do they really want to come forward like all these things can make a fight hard. So i don’t really look at it as a step back because they give me this fight. You know, then, this is who they want me to fight next, and i’m going to go out there and uh and perform i’m not going to i’m not going to. I don’t want to hold back but feel as though i need to treat him differently because he’s a newcomer to the sport, because i mean just a few fights ago. I was new yeah yeah and i had all these expectations of of what youtube’s gon na be like, and now i’m more comfortable, and i understand what it feels like. It is a jump in skill level and there’s a jump in um in intensity. So i got ta make sure that i’m able to you know give him the respect of giving him all that attention that he needs uh when i get into the fight. That being that being said, i mean you, you look at guys who who come into the sport and and almost everybody has early losses. Uh, you had an early loss in your career, an early ufc loss. How does it, how have you learned from both of those fights and how do you think a loss, uh impacts you and what sort of things can you use from those losses to to kind of better yourself as a martial artist? Oh well, for me uh, it’s important to remember how you felt doing those kind of fights uh like everything leading up to it. Everything during the fight. All those things are important, uh the way i use it, the first time uh, the the first time happened. I really sat down and thought about my my process like what was really the problem. You know, because i had a chance to finish that fight and i didn’t – and i was like okay. Why – and that was a whole conversation i had with, like my sister, my uncle, like all my all my friends family, about my fighting style. Like you know like about fighting and and and the mental part of it, you know um and i was able to to fix that because uh you know i looked at, i took things more seriously. Uh am i small seriously. I just meant i mean not in terms of that taking fighting serious, but just in terms of finishing the fight, you know like more seriously like it’s, not it’s, not a game. You know like when you win a lot of fights by knockout and especially like uh. Like you know, throughout my career in the beginning, especially like i had a lot like a long string of knockout wins and then uh, it kind of became a thing. You know. I was like all right. This is how i win, so you have to kind of feel like you can play around with. You know uh, and that was, i think, uh a downfall of me at that time period where i was just kind of playing around with the finish uh, the the one i had in uh uh when i first came to ufc. That was almost the same thing, but not quite it was mores where i was trying to make everything so perfect that i ended up not doing much at all and – and i felt like i – i didn’t perform to the best of my ability there and that’s what Made me upset, and you know like like it – i have lost before. Like my amateur career, i got beat up, you know, and that was, and i i swear home got some cookies. You know and some some some milk stuff like that and i was cool. I was like yeah man, i got whooped today, but it was a good. It was a good fight. The fight that hurt me the most was when uh the one. The last one in minnesota was milwaukee milwaukee, where i was fine afterwards. You know, like i just kept thinking, i’m fine like i don’t have any injuries, i’m not hurt, i’m not tired and i lost. This is like i was so imperated by that. So you know i tried to fight in january and i got to fight in february by very scott and i was able to compete and get some of that frustration out. But also when i went in there i was okay, got ta be more busy and you got ta. You know i really press the action more because one these guys are not don’t have the same mentality. You know like uh, they’re, strategic, also and they’re gon. Na look for ways to win they’re trying to win, you know and try. No one doesn’t necessarily just mean like oh i’m going to go in there and trash the guy, because that’s what it meant to me. You know like like before i’m going to destroy this guy, i’m going to win, but some of these guys are like strategic and they’re counting the points they’re they’re, like you know, he’s using the fight iq. You know like not just for striking, but also like. Okay, i’m gon na hold this defense a little bit. I’M gon na hit him here. I’M do this into that. I’M gon na be headed on points in this round and they’re gon na try to win that way. So you have to use all those things to be able to to get the victory and that’s what i’ve been doing. So, even even though i won that last one, i still made a whole bunch of changes in my life to make sure that the next fight. I have and going forward i’m able to compete with all the best guys you know and beat them. That being said, i mean you had you’ve had a quite a layoff. Now, how do you go into this fight and say you know what i can’t try to be perfect, like you said trying to be perfect that you don’t end up doing anything but at the same time not making like silly errors, i mean: there’s got to be Some ring wrestle that you’re going to feel as soon as you get in there. Have you have you prepped for that, like you know, i haven’t fought in over a year and and how do you think that layoff is going to affect your performance? Well, i mean i’m, i’m really really lucky uh when it comes to ring rust, because what i’ve learned throughout my life is that when it’s time to fight, i fight right. So – and you know it’s not like a like a cartoon where the bell rings and then going like a trance, you know, but it’s just that when i know somebody trying to hurt me. I fight back like like the fight that i had uh when, when i, what was it when i had a contender show, i hadn’t fought for like two years. You know it was like three years without a fight, i’m fighting getting canceled constantly and all kinds of craziness, and i thought uh and this one is gon na, be the same thing. It’S like uh when i get in i’m ready to fight uh, because i’ve prepared nothing, you know and i’ve trained. I think i think ring rush really settles in when you don’t train as much as you used to so it’s like you’re coming back in and not willing to push yourself as hard as you used to push yourself, because you don’t know you don’t remember what it’s Like you know, but uh i’ve, i’ve managed to keep. You know uh a lot of notes about how i train and and make sure i’m hitting the same numbers and exceeding them to make sure that i’m back to the same spot and also the level of comfortability. You know uh, luckily, for me like uh striking is the thing i love the most, so i’m always practicing and like doing weird stuff to keep my my skills, sharp. You know as far as striking goes. So that’s that’s where the fight starts yeah and then uh as far as grappling. I know that i need to work on it, so i work on it. I can’t make sure that i can keep it fresh, so i’m able to execute whatever i need to in the fight and – and i think that’s how uh that’s how i keep ring rest at bay uh. But another thing on top of that, too, is that uh you know i like to fight. So you know i i i say it. You know as a joke, but seriously like i like to so when it starts it’s more of me having a good time, and you know when you can get into that mode. We do something you that you really like how you kind of just time, just kind of goes by and you get into it. That’S that that’s what happens. That’S what’s going to happen, uh in the fights where i’ve been less active or that i want that loss that i had. I didn’t have time to have a good time, because i was trying to like calculate all these things. You know so now, i’m back speaking. I want to touch on the contender series because you did compete on it. You had a lot of success on it. Um the that’s back the contender series back, there’s a uh. What advice would you give to fighters coming in? I mean you’ve got to feel so much pressure, knowing that dana white’s there, knowing that a ufc contract’s on the line and knowing that a finish means so much more right, like a discipline, doesn’t get you that contract. So what advice would you give fighters coming up on the contender series? Uh? Is this more more about uh? I want to be cliche believe in yourself, but if you don’t believe in yourself believe that they believe in you yeah, because you’re there for a reason, what you’ve done so far is what’s gotten you there so do what you’ve done to the best of your ability And then you you can be successful and if not getting the contract, if not this, at least you you’ll say that hey man, i did the best that i could right. That’S the most important thing: if you go in there and just say: okay, i’m just gon na go all out and swing and try to finish that that could work out for you. But if that’s not your style might not be good yeah so, and you can put pressure on yourself that you don’t you don’t need to you have to at that point, and i think i i i don’t know for sure you know, but i think what they’re Looking for is a person who fits the mold of a professional fighter in the ufc, someone who’s, confident in their game and their ability to win and the ability to finish an opponent and that’s what that’s what they want. He wants mine to to approach and get the finisher with confidence. You know, and i think i think, uh that’s what really you know shocks them. You know it’s kind of like uh when you watch she shows like uh, american idol and stuff like that when people are singing and they hit that high note and they hold it up. Oh, my gosh, you know like it’s the same kind of thing: it’s like you’re doing your best and you’re doing it with confidence and that’s gon na. Let them see that you can handle the other guys, because the worst thing and one thing that i’ve always been uh, not always, but the last couple years been afraid of – is like getting into the situation where i’m good enough to beat some of the people at You know, but not everybody else at the top. You know, and i think one of the worst things he could do for a person is take somebody who’s, not able who’s able to win a contender show, but then can’t beat the guys in the ufc, because you guys need to come to beat you, and you Know they come they’re coming to win, so i think that’s the one they want that confidence in the in the execution and the finish and the entire fight. Your upcoming fight is going to feel a lot like the contender series, in the sense that it’s at the apex and there’s no one in the audience as someone who’s fought in front of no audience, do you think that’s going to favor your your fight style you’re, Going to end up performing better without the audience, or do you like to feed off the crowd, the crowd’s energy and or or do you think you know what i don’t even notice? It uh definitely notice it uh, because i love the crowd like like it. It is it’s it’s something, it goes all the way back to like man like being in school and you hear fight, fight, fight fight, you know and everybody runs go to russian. I love that and then, on top of it too um. You know i used to do muay thai before and there’s this thing that happens in thai boxing matches when we had somebody in the corner throwing their knees. The crowd was like, oh you know, and and even in in like wwe, when that, when somebody’s hitting somebody with a chest shop and a corner like one, what too, all that stuff to me since i’ve been a kid has been exciting. So i’m definitely going to notice it for sure um, but it won’t affect my performance because for me the fight is you know it’s the uh, it’s like the the main course right, so i i find the audience as much as i love. It is more of uh, you know like like an additional thing in the meal. It’S not it’s not the main thing. I i’ve also fought in um. I fought in a uh, it was amsterdam world championships in scotland and there was a crowd, but nobody pay attention to you because it was like five fights going on. At the same time, it was like a tournament thing, and that was probably the most like confusing uh situation. I’Ve been in was probably you know, you look outside of the ring and you see a bunch of people running back and forth. You know so i i’ve had a lot of experience in this kind of situation and for me, it’s gon na be fine um. I feel as though uh i’ll get more excited because i’ll be able to to hear more things and i got ta make sure that i don’t get. You know uh. What’S the word like uh, distracted and in enjoying the atmosphere so much yeah, just let’s go in there and do my do my work and then it’ll be done so throughout the pandemic there was one big thing in the ufc. You know it’s so much hype behind it and that was fine island. As someone who’s, i mean you’re. The majority of your pro career has been in the united states. I think you had one fight and i think it was a czech republic is that something that you’d be open to competing abroad or do you uh? Are you very much like you know what i like staying home, it’s uh, i like it here. Well, i mean the thing about: it was uh. I was helping someone to fight in scotland. You know it was an experience. For me, fighting is, is, is the whole thing is an adventure i i fell in love with with the support from watching like people fighting in japan. You know like watching ernesto who’s and, like all the guys in k1, watching uh, all the fights and prize championships like that was exciting, and one thing i always loved was the build up matches the build up promo, where they showed a guy getting off the plane And walking through you know and like you see him and his team hitting pads in the corner, like all that stuff got me really sad for fighting and i’ve experienced that the first time was yeah. The first time was in scotland and then uh every other time. Since when i went about my other uh other teammates uh abroad, or even when it was myself, it’s always an adventure. Man like like uh, like people, people see the fights, but they don’t understand that, like for the rest of my life, every fight that happens every single one is a night in my life that things will be remembered for the rest of my life. I even if i i’ve had like man like 47 fights by now. You know, like you know like across my career, like muay, thai and like mma, and all some of that, like amateur and pro but like. If i, if i find a video on my on my computer or or of or i see a certain date – oh i remember that day yeah i was like we went and saw avatar afterwards. You know like, like all these things that come back to mind. So uh i like the adventure of it, i would definitely be able to go on pi island. I was actually trying to go uh. You know like like seeing this. If i i can uh get get there, but i got this date. I got this day here and you know i’m i’m fine with that. You know like uh fighting america is just where i live, and also let my family be able to watch it at like a regular time so that that’s exciting too, but for the fire island thing just the aspect of traveling there and having that like atmosphere to Me was what it was. It was to me the like my nine-year-old self, like watching blood sport like to to know that i would do that in the future, would be so ecstatic. So that’s why i kind of wanted to go kind of like a just just for me to have fun all right, i’ll. Ask you a couple more questions and i’ll. Let you go the uh the platform, so i started this back in march uh like interviewing fighters, but i had a platform from doing two things. One was making predictions which i’m awful at and the second is uh making matchups after fights. So is there a dream? Matchup for you, whether it’s realistic, like they’re, currently in the ufc or former fighter, is there anybody that you’re? Like you know what i wish someday i could or someday. I could have competed against this person. Oh that’s a lot! Uh actually uh for me uh and you know when i talk about this kind of stuff, i always try to make the point that, like i’m not saying that like, i want to beat this person up because you know like it’s like if i was a tennis Player saying like i want to play against this person, it’s not because i don’t like them, because i respect this skill and i want to i want to fight. I want to fight and i want to compete against them. You know so uh. For me, an amazing fight, something would be getting me excited was me, would be fighting uh. Well, i don’t know what order to put it in uh robert lawler will be amazing, and that’s that’s a fight that i would love because i’ve been watching him when i watched him beat melvin manoff like way back then strikeforce. I said i want to fight that. Guy come on man, i was one of my favorite fighters. Uh going through, you know, fights in japan, and i was so surprised that he that he beat a man like like he was man of his kicking his legs away from him like it was ridiculous and he came back and went. I was that guy as something special and then also um when he uh. We fought well two two great fights that you had um one was against uh matt brown, which was just an amazing fight and also the other one against uh. Okay, i can see his face: rory donald, yes, rory mcdonald. I don’t watch this fight. I was like man, you know, because i always wanted to have a fight like that. You know and like where you’re just going all out against the person and you’re able to just you everything just disappears you just just get in there uh. That would be one another. One would be uh, steve, wonderboy, stephen one boy thompson. You know because i think i feel like we have not similar styles, but he thinks a lot and i see him setting things up and measuring and i do the same and he he has like a kind of he has the karate background and i started off Doing kung, fu and stuff like that, you know so i thought like it would make for a good fight and an action-packed one, because i’m really accustomed to guys spinning through spinning, kicks and like sidekicks and all this other stuff. So i wouldn’t be as hesitant to step in as some of his other opponents have been because yeah i’m used to fighting that kind of stuff yeah, so that’d be a great one and i can go on and on i mean you know it’s a it’s. A last time it’s a lot of ways. Absolutely i mean usually like they’re uh people are like man. The legends would be awesome to compete against the robbie lawler. I mean to have a name like that on your resume win or lose. I mean you just fought a world champion, one of the best ever you know an icon of the sport and same thing with both with wonder boy as well um and then the match-up man there’s a big fight this weekend, daniel cormier versus stipe miocic. I can’t go through this without asking you what’s your thoughts, who do you think’s winning it? Well, i mean i’m gon na be a little biased because uh, like i’m a fan of dc uh ever since he fought um, he fought bigfoot silva, you know and then, on top of that i trained with him for years. That’S another thing, but i feel i feel like this is going to fight uh in the first fight um yeah. He finished it quickly like well, he finally uh were hitting him. You know he struck him and he didn’t look the first one that way and the second one i feel as though uh mildred tried to figure him out and try to like prolong things, so he can try to wear them down uh in this one yeah. I remember this he’s a smart guy, like you know, he’s competing he’s competing in the olympics. He he had. He had all this just training before he has his quarter staff with him he’s gon na be able to make the adjustments to make sure that whatever milkshake goes for is very very dangerous, doesn’t mean that it won’t be open for him, but it just means that If he goes, there he’s gon na pay a price for it, and i think that’s what you’re gon na find in this fight coming up, i’m gon na see him very motivated and and and very uh uh. I want to say cerebral like hate, cerebral yeah, but we’re very like uh. You know just just watchful in what’s going on and then when it’s time to attack you’re gon na attack. I don’t think it’s gon na be a match where you know he’s he’s going to be overwhelmed at all or he’s going to have any like uh issues dealing with him he’s going to he’s going to make this make uh matrix, miss a lot, i’m sure, but Also, when he comes in like like pay for it – and i feel like that kind of style and also of course he can hit him as hard as heck and drop him again too. But it’s possibility is there, you know, but i feel like like that, might force uh mitchell to wrestle with him and if he does that it’s done like it’s done. If you’re going to try to wrestle dc, it’s done uh. I i feel, as though most of most of the fight is going to be uh dc, pushing the accident and deciding where to go, that that that body shot stuff that he he did last time is not going to be. You know uh the the abnormal facebook three and it’s fine. I like that uh. I like the like the breakdown, i’m i’m a huge dc fan as well. I mean i didn’t like dc because i’m a huge jon jones fan, i think kind of like subsided like i like dc, he’s actually a good guy as a die hard jones fan. I didn’t like him there for a long time, and i understand that i i i was a fan of jones before you know and i’m still kind of a fan of jones. You know it’s like, like the the fighting style and – and you know you, you can’t you can’t uh, you can’t put down the guys fighting style or, or you know like like when people have a rivalry like you know, if you like two fighters and have a Rivalry like i, i don’t want to put down one guy and be like this guy is not as good as whatever it is, because you know what makes the fight so exciting is the fact that these guys are so good. You know genres playing style, you know, has affected the mma world and made things you know like like change, you know and and also same thing with dc. You know so it’s like you appreciate both styles and and and inherently you know, also uh, both fighters yeah yeah, absolutely uh. So your fights two weeks away. What’S the message for uh for everybody out there, people who want to watch your fight? What’S your message, how are you gon na get it done and uh describe your fighting style for anyone who hasn’t seen you fight oh well, well, how i’m gon na then it’s not really a secret, because if you see me fight, if you see me fight uh, You know what i’m going for i’m trying to finish the fight uh right away, so i’m always going for i’m going for a knockout that that to me has been what’s excited me, the most about fighting uh growing up and even now you know, i think, that’s Most exciting, exciting way to win, so i’m going for that. My fire style is a little weird because i started with kung fu first and uh. You know i worked into muay thai and then just wrestling later on, so i do a lot of different different styles. You know um, it’s not just not really just one um so that to me you know it’s interesting to watch as well uh and i’m gon na get it done. Yeah, i’m going for the finish. You know i i know that uh, you know i’m fighting a guy who’s bigger than me, so i’m i have. I have uh all my all my my game plan set for that and you know i know that i i don’t i’m not gon na hold back. I’M not gon na feel sorry for the person like that, because you know i’m. I really need to make sure that uh i’m pushing myself not just to win the fight, but to win the fight in a way that’ll satisfy me because you know uh. I feel as though, even though i’ve had some really great wins so far, i’m not expressing myself the best of my ability, i’m not showing my full potential. I i’m not uh as active as i should be, and, and there’s been reasons for that now of hope that in the last like few months, i’ve addressed those reasons so that you’ll see uh the best version of me uh that that’s ever existed. You know like like, if this is the that movie a jedi movie, the one is it the one where he fights all different versions himself and uh? Well, this is an older movie, like you know, like uh, that this would be the version that i am right now we wanted to destroy all of them. You know so i’m um, if you ever have seen any of my highlights and you want to see a good fight. Then you know august 22nd tune in because it’s gon na be the best you ever seen. I love it. Man that’s a great way to end. It um all the best stay safe, wash your hands, don’t catch anything and uh man. I can’t wait. Can’T wait to watch you fight thanks, so much man, everybody appreciate it all right, man, all the best.

Sergio Pineiro

Sergio Pineiro is the Founder of FighterPath.com and host of the Quarantinecast podcast. Based in Canada he is both a sports journalist and MMA enthusiast. He practices the sport but has a passion for the individual stories of training, fighting and living the fighting lifestyle.

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