Anthony Pettis vs. Josh Thomson headlines UFC On FOX 9

Anthony Pettis’ first title defense of his newly-won UFC Lightweight Championship will not be against T.J. Grant after all. Instead, Pettis (17-2, 4-1 UFC) will defend against Josh Thomson (20-5 1 NC, 3-1 UFC) in the main event of December’s UFC On FOX 9 event. The news was broken on Monday night’s edition of FOX Sports Live on FOX Sports 1.

Grant was scheduled to receive the next title shot after being forced out of a planned title bout with Benson Henderson at UFC 164 last month. However, Grant was forced out of the bout due to a concussion suffered during training for the bout. Pettis replaced him and submitted Henderson to win the championship in his hometown of Milwaukee. Grant was hoping to be able to return soon, but he posted on Twitter on Monday night that he has yet to be medically cleared and would be unable to compete in December, which opened the door for Thomson to get the title opportunity.

Thomson is coming off an impressive knockout win over Nate Diaz in his UFC return at UFC On FOX 7 in April. Thomson is just 2-1 over his last three fights, but his split decision loss to Gilbert Melendez in a May 2012 Strikeforce Lightweight Championship bout could have gone either way, and many thought Thomson had won the fight. His impressive win over Diaz, coupled with losses by many top contenders at 155 pounds, helped him secure the first shot at Pettis.

Pettis and Thomson were actually rumored for a bout and traded exchanges back-and-forth on Twitter prior to Pettis filling in to take on Henderson. Pettis will enter the fight on a four-fight win streak.

UFC On FOX 9 takes place on Dec. 14 from the Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento, California. The main card airs on FOX and will also feature a bantamweight bout between Urijah Faber and Michael McDonald.

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