Anthony Pettis at WEC 48UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis recently had to back out of the first planned defense of his title due to a knee injury.

Pettis had been slated to put his newly minted belt on the line against Josh Thomson in the UFC on Fox 9 main event on Dec. 14 in Sacramento. But when he aggravated his left knee in training that all changed.

The fight was nixed. Thomson will now square off against former champion Benson Henderson in the UFC on Fox 10 main event on Jan. 25 in Chicago, while Pettis is headed for the operating room.

UFC Tonight on Wednesday confirmed that Pettis would be going under the knife on Dec. 12. He tore the posterior cruciate ligament in his left knee when he returned to training after his victory over Henderson.

It is, of course, too soon to give a definitive time frame for Pettis’ return, but the champ guaranteed UFC Tonight that he would be back by summertime 2014.

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