New UFC Lightweight Champion Anthony Pettis has had his post fight knee exam come back as a sprain that will require rest, but not a prolonged period away from the octagon. This is great news for the new champion, who won the title with a 1st Round arm lock submission over Benson Henderson this past weekend at UFC 164. Despite a lot of talk over a potential inter-divisional showdown with Jose Aldo, the UFC has announced that Pettis will be defending his title against TJ Grant in his next outing.
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Former Champion Benson Henderson is out of the mix for a re-match, to hear UFC President Dana White tell it. Henderson’s two losses to Pettis, with the title changer being a very definitive win, leave him out of the immediate title picture.
The immediate post fight talk was about Pettis facing Featherweight titlist Aldo, and the match had previously been signed, however the UFC has shelved the potential ‘superfight’ to have Pettis rest the knee injury and face TJ Grant next in a Lightweight title defense.
Look for the UFC to play up a rivalry, as Pettis replaced Grant against Henderson after a lot of internet talking between him and Grant.
Look for Pettis to be favored heading into the fight when a line is released. Grant remains under the radar for the most part when it comes to the betting public, as he has an undefeated streak at Lightweight that earned him the shot, but has only one truly memorable performance (taking out Gray Maynard) to keep in the public eye.
Nevertheless he will bear watching as an underdog. Grant is a big 155 lber, who fought his way to the UFC as a welterweight. Solid grappling combined with a rising stand up game and a lot of power, Grant is a good candidate to start the revolving door on the Lightweight Title by taking it from Pettis right away.