Of all the outcomes to flow from UFC 166 in Houston this past Saturday night, one of the more regrettable ones may fall upon Canadian fighter T. J. Grant.
As we know, Grant was set to fight for the title not once, but twice this year. However, he was a forced scratch both times due to medical issues revolving around a concussion he sustained, while training.
Now it seems that Grant’s title shot train may have left the station, as UFC President Dana White made note on Saturday.
As it stands, there is no word as to when Grant will be able to return to the Octagon and coming off the tremendous fight and victory that Gilbert Melendez had over Diego Sanchez on the weekend, White seems to be leaning towards an Anthony Pettis / Gilbert Melendez fight that can be definitively scheduled, as opposed to Pettis / Grant fight that cannot.
To that end, White has stated that Grant “might” have to take another fight; as he stated:
“T.J. Grant’s in one of those unfortunate situations where he had the title shot and he had to pull out twice. He’s in limbo. He might come back and have to fight another fight. We’ve got to keep this thing rolling.”
Although it is, as White said unfortunate that Grant could find himself sans a title shot he earned, it’s nonetheless understandable that White would want to put Melendez in the ring with Pettis.
It’ll be a big fight and a big draw; certainly bigger than a championship bout featuring the relatively unknown T.J. Grant.
It capitalizes on a mind numbing fight that the fans loved and places its victor in the Octagon for a title shot, as its reward.
Also, it’s a tip of the cap to Gilbert Melendez for his title fight with Benson Henderson; a bout that many thought he won, as opposed to lost. As Henderson subsequently fell to Pettis a mere four months later and replaced him as champion, there is legitimate cause to give Melendez another kick at the can.
Concluding, Anthony Pettis vs. Gilbert Melendez is a fight that has too many positives going for it to not happen and if T.J. Grant’s promised title shot is standing in the way of that train then it’s apt to be set aside.
Grant should not be shocked if he’s paired with either Rafael dos Anjos or Khabib Nurmagomedov, upon his return.
Of course, all of this is predicated on the fact that Josh Thomson doesn’t shock the world on December 14th at UFC on FOX 9, and defeat Anthony Pettis.