TJ Grant will be meeting Benson Henderson at UFC 164 in a Lightweight title scrap. Although injury threatened to pull Grant from the bout, it was not an injury that Grant had sustained. Anthony Pettis injured his knee rolling with Phil Davis and almost immediately campaigned for Grant’s crack at the LW strap.
It’s a cutthroat sport, over the years many fighters have learned that the hard way. As it stands, TJ will indeed face Henderson, but Pettis’ move hasn’t gone un-noticed by Grant. Check out this snippet from Grant’s interview with ESPN’s Gareth A. Davies:
“I wish it was handled a little differently; him of all people, I think it was disrespectful, to do that against someone who has earned the right to fight is not right.”
“Unfortunately he got hurt but it was low class, I thought. I didn’t want to get into the whole talking thing. I got here legitimately and earned it. Ultimately, what he was saying was that he wanted my title shot which was incredibly disrespectful. It was pretty dirty.”
I can understand where Grant is coming from, but this is an incredibly unpredictable sport. As much, if not more, happens outside the cage as does inside it in relation to Pro-MMA. Grant continued:
“He’s 26 years old and hes a great fighter I think he’ll be a champion one day, but this is my time right now.”
“It’s in the past now: He’s out, I’m in. It’s going to be a series of little battles in a big battle against Benson Henderson. He’s the man, and I want to beat the man and be champion. It’s what I’ve always wanted.”
With his destruction of Gray Maynard, Grant has made a statement at 155lbs. Will he be able to dominate Benson Henderson in the same manner? That is yet to be seen, but Grant has as much a chance as the next man against Bendo. He certainly has more tools in the bag than Nate Diaz did.
Fights with the champion are always going to be tough. He is so hard to finish, and has a judge-friendly style. Bad news for most potential challengers. The key is going to be hurt him early and go for the TKO stoppage, Bendo can hold a high pace throughout all five rounds. A war of attrition isn’t what Grant wants, in my opinion.