An injury has forced T.J. Grant out of the biggest fight of his career, and Anthony Pettis has found his wish come true.
Grant (21-5, 8-3 UFC) suffered a concussion training for his title shot against UFC Lightweight Champion Benson Henderson (19-2, 7-0 UFC), and will be forced to miss the bout on August 31. Stepping in for Grant will be Pettis (16-2, 3-1 UFC), who had openly campaigned to fight Henderson after he was forced out of his scheduled bout against Jose Aldo at UFC 163.
MMA Junkie reported the news on Friday evening.
Pettis was slated to move down to the featherweight division and challenge Aldo for the UFC Featherweight Championship on August 3, but a knee injury forced him out of that bout. Pettis was very vocal in his desire to want to replace Grant and get his rematch with Henderson at UFC 164, which will take place in Pettis’ hometown of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Doctors had said Pettis would miss six weeks of training, but when Grant was forced out, Pettis got the call and will return from his injury to get his dream fight.
Grant had won five straight fights since moving down to the lightweight division to earn a title shot. He scored a first-round knockout win over Gray Maynard at UFC 160 to secure that title shot, but it will have to wait as he now will miss action due to his concussion. Grant has also scored wins over Shane Roller, Carlo Prater, Evan Dunham and Matt Wiman during his win streak.
Pettis was scheduled to fight for the UFC Lightweight Championship once before as he was the WEC Lightweight Champion when the two promotions merged. However, the need for a trilogy fight between Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard for the title put Pettis’ shot on hold, and he took a fight with Clay Guida in the meantime. Pettis lost a decision to Guida to knock him down the ladder, but three straight wins over Jeremy Stephens, Joe Lauzon and Donald Cerrone secured him another title shot. He challenged Aldo following Aldo’s win over Edgar in February, and had made plans to become a two-division champion. That will start with a challenger for the lightweight belt.
Henderson has won seven straight fights since moving to the UFC. He defeated Edgar for the lightweight championship at UFC 144 in February 2012, and has since successfully defended it against Edgar, Nate Diaz and Gilbert Melendez. Henderson and Pettis fought in the last-ever WEC bout in December 2011, a fight won by Pettis following the highlight-reel “Showtime Kick” delivered by Pettis. Henderson will get the chance to avenge that loss as he gets his long-awaited rematch.
UFC 164 takes place on August 31 from the Bradley Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The night’s main card airs on pay-per-view while preliminary card bouts air on FOX Sports 1 and Facebook. Former UFC Heavyweight Champions Frank Mir and Josh Barnett will also meet on the night’s card.
Tags: Anthony Pettis, Benson Henderson, Mixed Martial Arts, UFC, UFC 164
Source: MMA Junkie