Anthony Pettis, who recently became a scratch for his upcoming bout against Jose Aldo (UFC 163, August 3rd in Rio de Janeiro) due to a knee injury which requires (only) rest and rehab, but not surgery, has requested of Dana White that he be allowed to replace T.J. Grant in his upcoming (UFC 164, August 31st) bout in Milwaukee, against current lightweight division champion Ben Henderson.
“Showtime’s” request to UFC president Dana White is predicated on several things. First and most importantly Pettis feels that his knee will have been healed up by before August 31rst. Secondly, that the fight is in Anthony’s home-town of Milwaukee and as such, he feels that he’s a better fit for both the card and the venue. Lastly, Pettis feels that a fight between himself and the current UFC 155 Champion is a fight that everyone wants to see and has wanted to see for quite some time.
Pettis is of course referencing the memorable encounter between himself and Ben Henderson in December of 2010, when the two faced off for the WEC lightweight title. Their fight proved to be an epic battle where fans saw Pettis defeat Henderson in a 5 round unanimous decision and exit the ring with not only with the belt, but also a highlight reel moment for his career simply known as the “Superkick”.
However, as much as Pettis may want to replace T. J. Grant in his fight with Bendo and as much as the fans might wish to see it, Dana White seems to have a less enthusiastic take on the subject. White believes that where a doctor and therapist in Milwaukee have told Showtime that he could be ready in as little as 3 to 6 weeks; White himself seems to be less sure stating:
“I could give a **** what the therapist in Milwaukee thinks…and I'm going to fly him out to Las Vegas to see Dr. (Steven) Saunders, too, for a second opinion.”
Even if Dana’s statement leaves open the door to a possible replacement of Grant by Pettis for UFC 164, White has thrown cold water on idea by subsequently remarking that …“He (Pettis) could do either, fight Aldo (or Chan Sun Jung should he beat Aldo) or he could fight the winner of Henderson and T.J. Grant.”
So there you have it. Pettis wants in at UFC 164, but Henderson already has food on his plate and it doesn’t look like White (as the chef) is inclined to swap out a meal of T.J. Grant for that of a meal of Anthony Pettis, regarding Bendo’s August 31st title defense.
If White was so inclined, he could ask Grant to step aside (pay him is show money) and also tell T.J. that he will get the winner of Henderson / Pettis and that the fight would go down in Grant’s hometown of Halifax / Dartmouth.
The East Coast of Canada and in particular the province of Nova Scotia and its capital city of Halifax, are hot-beds of (Canadian) UFC fandom and a town that White has mentioned as a future destination for the promotion. As a fan, I couldn’t think of a better show that the UFC could put on in “The City of Trees” then a lightweight title shot featuring the winner of Henderson / Pettis vs. hometown hero T.J. Grant.
If that was the deal that White put forward, then I for one would be quite happy. However and in saying so, I should confess that I have a dog-in-the-fight, because I live in Halifax and it would be nice to see a UFC show go down in the HRM, particularly if it was for a belt and featuring a native-son.