Top UFC lightweight contender T.J. Grant better hope Anthony Pettis doesn’t get his wish.
Pettis (16-2 MMA, 3-1 UFC), who dropped from lightweight to featherweight for a shot at 145-pound champion Jose Aldo (22-1 MMA, 4-0 UFC) before a knee injury scrapped their UFC 163 headliner this past week, now wants to return to 155 pounds.
And he wants to take a UFC 164 title shot with lightweight champion Benson Henderson that was promised to Grant (21-5 MMA, 8-3 UFC).
UFC 164 takes place Aug. 31, four weeks after Pettis’ planned UFC 163 bout with Aldo in Rio de Janeiro. For Pettis, such a rescheduling would mean a chance to fight in his hometown of Milwaukee, which is home to UFC 164.
“I can be 100 percent ready to fight Benson Henderson in Milwaukee,” Pettis claimed in a statement issued to FUEL TV’s post-UFC 161 show. “With all due respect to T.J. Grant, Milwaukee is my town, and the fight with Ben is the fight everyone has wanted for years.”
However, as MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) reported soon after UFC 161, UFC President Dana White doesn’t agree with Pettis’ claim that he could be ready to fight again by the end of August. Although the injury won’t require surgery, he said it won’t be a quick layoff.
“He talked to a doctor, and the doctor said he’s out for a good six weeks, and he needs a good (physical) therapist, and he needs to get his knee back,” White said. “That’s what a doctor said. He talked to a therapist in Milwaukee who told him three weeks. I could give a s–t what the therapist in Milwaukee thinks; I’m listening to the doctor. And I’m going to fly him out to Las Vegas to see Dr. (Steven) Saunders, too, for a second opinion.”
When Pettis dropped off the UFC 163 card this past week, Chan Sung Jung (13-3 MMA, 3-0 UFC) got the fight with Aldo instead. White said he’s open to Pettis fighting the Aldo vs. Jung winner – or even the Henderson vs. Grant winner.
“He’s definitely in line (at featherweight), but we’ll see what happens,” White said. “He could do either – he could fight Aldo or he could fight the winner of [Henderson] and T.J. Grant.”
Pettis, the WEC’s final lightweight champion, earned his UFC title shot following wins over Jeremy Stephens, Joe Lauzon and Donald Cerrone, the latter two of which earned “Knockout of the Night” awards. However, when champ Henderson was lined up for a title shot with Strikeforce titleholder Gilbert Melendez earlier this year, Pettis opted to move down to featherweight for an immediate title shot instead of waiting.
However, for now, Pettis will go back to the sidelines.
For more on UFC 164, stay tuned to the UFC Rumors section of the site.
(Pictured: Anthony Pettis)