UFC Lightweight Champ Anthony Pettis Gets T.J. Grant Next

By Rick LaFitte
Anthony Pettis
Benny Sieu USA TODAY Sports

It could’ve been worse for new UFC lightweight champ Anthony Pettis.  A knee injury suffered during his title winning effort at UFC 164 will sideline him for the next seven to eight weeks, but the good news is he won’t require surgery. Pettis suffered a sprained knee in the opening round of his fight this past Saturday night against Benson Henderson while checking a leg kick.  Pettis went on to take the belt via a first round submission. The rehabilitation period will get him ready for his next fight which UFC President Dana White says will be against number one contender T.J. Grant.

Grant had been initially slated to fight Henderson in Milwaukee but had to withdraw due to a concussion suffered in training. He was no doubt left stewing as he watched the new champ call out featherweight champion Jose Aldo in his post-fight interview. Those two were to have met at UFC 163 before that fight was derailed by a Pettis injury.

In the end, the UFC has made a fair decision by giving Grant the title shot he earned with a first round knockout of Gray Maynard at UFC 160. It was his fifth straight victory. The decision was based on a matter of principle, as it would have been very easy for the organization to be lured by the temptation of what will no doubt be an outstanding matchup between Pettis and Aldo.

The term SUPERFIGHT seems to get thrown around a little too loosely these days. In a divisional setup, it doesn’t seem to make much sense for a competitor to win a title and immediately move on to a bigger name in another weight class before at least defending the belt once. In Pettis’ case he made the most of the opportunity that came his way because of Grant’s injury, and now he will have to follow through and defend the belt against the lightweight division’s top contender.

No doubt the matchup of Pettis and Grant will be an exciting one for UFC fans to enjoy, likely in the early stages of 2014. If Pettis successfully defends his championship against the hard-hitting Grant, then let the discussions between him and Aldo heat up. Especially when it seems both current champs are so keen on having that fight become a reality.

Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports

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