Fortune has finally smiled on Anthony
Pettis – at T.J. Grant’s
UFC officials announced on Friday evening that Grant has been
forced to withdraw from his lightweight title shot against Benson
Henderson at 164. In his
place steps Pettis, who recently pulled out of a featherweight
title bout against Jose Aldo at
UFC 163 on Aug. 3. UFC 164 takes place at the BMO Harris Bradley
Center in Milwaukee on Aug. 31, presumably giving “Showtime” enough
time to recover from his knee injury.
Pettis first faced Henderson at World Extreme Cagefighting’s final
event in Dec. 2010. The Roufusport product became the promotion’s
final 155-pound titlist in spectacular fashion, punctuating a
unanimous decision triumph over Henderson with his now-famous
“Showtime” kick in the final frame. Pettis was supposed to be in
line to challenge for the UFC’s lightweight strap upon entering the
promotion, but a loss to Clay Guida in
his Octagon debut slowed his path to the title. The Milwaukee
native has bested Jeremy
Stephens, Joe Lauzon and
Cerrone in his last three outings.
“[You] can’t stop destiny!” Pettis tweeted on Friday night. “Me and
Henderson for the belt in my hometown!”
Grant had reeled off five straight victories since dropping from
welterweight to lightweight in 2011, with his first-round stoppage
Maynard at UFC 160 earning him the No. 1 contender’s spot.
Shortly after the announcement was made, the 29-year-old Canadian
tweeted that a concussion suffered in jiu-jitsu training had forced
him out of the showdown with Henderson.