Well, you have to feel terrible for T.J. Grant, as the top UFC lightweight contender will now miss out on a second promised title shot. After having to pull out of his scheduled title fight at UFC 164 against then-champ Benson Henderson because of a concussion, Grant will now watch Josh Thomson take his spot and battle new lightweight champion Anthony Pettis.
The fight will be the main event of the UFC on Fox 9 card on December 14th in Sacramento. Grant won’t be ready to go by that date because of the lingering injury and with the UFC intent on Pettis defending his newly-won belt in the headlining fight, Thomson gets the opportunity.
While it is definitely good fortune for Thomson, this chance is well earned. He’s fresh off an impressive second round stoppage of Nate Diaz at UFC on Fox 7. It marked the first time Diaz had ever been stopped via strikes, and it was one of the better performances of Thomson’s career.
He’s no stranger to facing high-quality opposition during his career, including an exciting trilogy in Strikeforce against Gilbert Melendez. “The Punk” will be looking to duplicate what Pettis did to win the title as an injury replacement.
Pettis suffered a knee injury in the Henderson victory, but should be ready for the December 14 defense. “Showtime” has been on quite the destructive run in his last three fights, including a first-round submission of Henderson to claim the title and first-round knockouts of Donald Cerrone and Joe Lauzon.
With both fighters delivering peak performances at this stage of their careers, it promises to be a terrific main event. The active styles of both fighters should lead to plenty of exciting moments for however long the fight lasts.
As for Grant, you can only imagine the frustration he’s feeling on a second missed opportunity to go for the gold. However, he’s made it clear that when he’s fully healthy and ready to return he will fight against whoever he needs to in order to work his way back to that no. 1 contender status. However, that road back to the top won’t be an easy one in a 155-pound division with plenty of talent and more marketable names.
Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports