Former scheduled UFC Lightweight No. 1 contender TJ Grant has had a bit of bad luck lately. After destroying Gray Maynard with a one-sided stoppage at UFC 160, he was set to face off with former 155 lb. champion for the title at the inaugural UFC on Fox Sports 1.
When Grant went down with a concussion suffered during a Brazilian Jiu-jitsu training session, Anthony Pettis stepped in to take his place at last weekend’s UFC 164, and the rest is history. Pettis submitted Henderson in the first round to become the new champion, and a whole new direction of speculation followed.
While most believe that Pettis will finally challenge Jose Aldo to make good on their scheduled UFC 163 main event that “Showtime” was forced out of with a knee injury, both Pettis and Aldo are injured right now. It’s unclear how long that bout will take to materialize, but Grant spoke up to MMA Fighting to voice his opinion that he’s earned a title shot at Pettis:
"I’m pretty sure Aldo is a little banged up as well right now. But, hey, I just won my last fight in two minutes. I knocked Gray Maynard out. I knocked the guy out before that. I feel like I’ve earned it. I feel like I’m the guy. I’ve been in the UFC a long time. I’ve never really gotten the push that I feel like I need but I’ve also built a lot of experience in fighting and haven’t been in the spotlight, which is nice too. But I’m ready to be there and I’m ready to go out there. Give me the opportunity man. I feel like I’ve earned it. I want a healthy Pettis, and I want a healthy me, and I want us to get in there and do battle."
Grant makes a good point here, as it’s tough to deny his five-fight winning streak and the fact that he was already placed in a title shot. With Pettis, Aldo, and Grant all healing from their respective injuries, it’s going to take some time for the messy situation to get sorted out. In terms of drawing power, a fight featuring “Showtime” versus “Scarface” is going to prove a much more powerful draw than a Pettis versus Grant title fight.
That lack of name recognition will most likely come back to haunt Grant here, but if he doesn’t get the high-level bout he’s looking for, how can he become known as one of the best Lightweights on the planet? There are perhaps a few opponents that he could square off against, but again, he feels like a shot at the belt should be his, and we’ve seen what can happen to those who take another fight while a champion is injured.
The Nova Scotia native has been on a tear as of late, and his gritty style is maybe one of the few that could pose potential problems for the surging Pettis.
The time is now for TJ Grant. Will he get his shot at the belt?
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