As rumors go, this is a great one. Anthony Pettis and T.J. Grant could meet at UFC FOX 9, this coming December 14th.
As we all know, Pettis just recently defeated Ben Henderson at UFC 164 and laid claim to the promotion's lightweight belt. The opportunity that gave him the title shot came at the expense of T. J. Grant. Grant was supposed to fight Henderson for the 155 pound division’s belt, but incurred a concussion injury during training and was forced to scratch. Pettis stepped in to take Grant’s place and in doing so, claimed the belt.
Post-fight, the new champ, along with UFC President Dana White, seemed to be keen to setting a match between Pettis and 145 pound champ, Jose Aldo. However, cold water was quickly splashed on any immediate fight for “Showtime”, as he sustained injuries to his left knee during his bout with Ben Henderson.
As it turns out though, the injuries to Pettis’s knee appear to be minor in nature and will not require surgery. To that end, it is expected that Pettis could be ready to return to the Octagon in as little as two months.
That said and given the fact that Jose Aldo is out with a broken foot, the UFC seems to be interested in putting Pettis back in the ring (quickly) to defend his title and the choice of candidate is likely to be T.J. Grant.
The source of the rumor is Ariel Helwani and again, it’s only a rumor, but in checking “Sherdog” and their listing for the FOX 9 card, an event that features Urijah Faber vs. Michael McDonald as the co-main event, sure enough, Pettis / Grant are already listed as the main.
Either way, it’s looking as this fight could well go down before the end of the year and that would be great. I was disappointed when Grant was a scratch for the Henderson fight and further disappointed, when it looked like Pettis was going to get a match with Aldo.
Yes, Pettis / Aldo would be a great fight, but so too would be a bout with the aggressive Grant and more to the point, I think Pettis needs to defend his belt once or twice before he faces Aldo, and Grant is the fight that is due in the division.
My guess will be that Pettis will beat Grant, but T.J. nonetheless, has earned the right to have that fact demonstrated in the Octagon and not simply stated as a fact.
On a related issue, having Pettis fight on FOX (for free) would be awesome and a great lead-up to the Weidman / Silva re-match.