TJ Grant has certainly had a roller coaster of a year thus far, firstly he capped off a fantastic rise in the Lightweight division with an impressive KO win over Gray Maynard. His journey at 155 has consisted of wins over Shane Roller, Matt Wiman, Carlo Prater, Evan Dunham and the UFC 160 win over Maynard.
Grant was then linked to a title bout to, at the time, reigning Lightweight boss Benson Henderson. Bendo was then publicly executed by Anthony Pettis at UFC 165, when Grant was unable to compete due to injuries sustained in training.
The concussion Grant suffered was severe enough that he was unable to even get clearance to train, and Josh Thomson was matched against Pettis for a December title tilt. According to last night’s UFC Tonight, Grant’s injury is still presenting him with problems and he is still unable to train.
Ariel Helwani’s report indicated that the Nova Scotian scrapper hopes to be back in training by Christmas time, which may or may not work out perfectly for his title shot aspirations. Anthony Pettis has since succumbed to injury, being replaced by Benson Henderson at UFC on Fox 10 vs. Thomson.
Henderson is the former Champion of the Lightweight division, and a win over Thomson would throw him right back in to the mix at 155. With the winner decided before xmas coms around, Grant may come back just in time to get a shout at the winner of Pettis vs. Thomson/Henderson.
Then again, he may be out for longer than expected and find himself another place down in the queue. The injury plague in the Lightweight division has been a plague on it’s rankings system, lets hope it ends for 2014. It becomes almost impossible to have a legitimate ranking system in place when title shots are decided by who is healthy enough to fight.
Many would consider Thomson very lucky to have received a shot in the first place, especially considering he is only one fight in to his UFC return. A look at who was available for the shot at the time will reveal that 'The Punk' was truly the best candidate.