It looks like Anthony Pettis has got his wish after all – he now steps in to fight Ben Henderson for the UFC Lightweight title at UFC 164 after TJ Grant pulled out injured.
Those of a suspicious disposition might be quick to question whether there’s some sort of behind the scenes shenanagins going on here as this appears to be a rather convenient way to put on what looks set to be a bigger fight.
However, Grant has quickly spoke out to assure fans there’s nothing untoward going on here.
“Sorry all you conspiracy theorists./ did not and could not pay me any amount of money to step aside,” Grant told his followers on Twitter.
” I am healing from a concussion I suffered in BJJ of all things. I hope to be back training very soon.”
It’s a real blow for Grant who’d strung together a very impressive five fight winning streak in order to secure his shot at the title. Presumably he’ll now go on to fight the winner of the Henderson Vs Pettis match-up.
While Grant may be the rightful No.1 contender, there’s no doubt that fans will be excited to see how Pettis fares against Henderson in the Octagon given that he was the last man to beat the current champion back when they both fought for the WEC organization.
That was back in December of 2010 as Pettis unleashed his famous ‘Showtime Kick’ off the cage to knock down Henderson in the final round, which helped him to secure a decision victory.
Since then Henderson has been on a tear in the UFC, charting a seven fight winning streak in the lightweight division that included winning the title against Frankie Edgar and then successfully defending the belt four times.
Meanwhile, Pettis dropped a decision to Clay Guida in his UFC debut, but quickly regained his momentum with three straight wins, including ‘Knockout Of The Night’s’ against both Joe Lauzon and Donald Cerrone.
Pettis was originally supposed to fight Jose Aldo for the featherweight title next month, but dropped out due to a knee injury. He then attempted to campaign for this fight with Henderson, but at the time Grant was already scheduled to fight him and he received a backlash from fans who felt he was trying to jump the queue.
At the time the UFC weren’t willing to entertain the idea either, insisting that Pettis wouldn’t have been healthy in time to fight Henderson anyway, but with Grant now injured they’ve apparently had a swift change of heart on that particular issue!