Forget the talk about a superfight between Anthony Pettis and Jose Aldo for now – the newly crowned lightweight champion will defend his title against TJ Grant next.
That’s the word according to Dana White who confirmed the fight on ESPN’s ‘Sportscenter’ last night.
The UFC president also revealed that despite fears that Pettis may have badly injured his knee during his first round submission victory over Ben Henderson, scans have shown that he has in fact just sprained it.
That means he won’t require surgery and should only be out of action for the next 7-8 weeks. His first title defense as champion will follow on some time after that.
While everyone’s excited by the prospect of Aldo Vs Pettis, I think this is a sensible choice from the UFC. Pettis has only just got his hands on the title, so it makes sense for him to defend it first before entertaining the idea of a superfight.
It’s also the right thing to do as let’s not forget that it was originally supposed to have been Grant who was to face Henderson for the title this past Saturday night before he suffered a concussion in training that forced him to pull out of the fight.
Grant’s on an impressive five fight winning streak so he’s more than earned the opportunity and it should be a good stylistic match-up.
One sidenote to all this is that it’s somewhat surprising that White opted to reveal the fight on ESPN’s ‘Sportscenter’, a direct rival to the new FOX Sports 1 channel.
It seems like from FOX’s perspective it’d have been better if White had announced this on their own channel, but since it’s struggled to find a footing so far in the ratings other than for the UFC’s live events it may be that White felt that the news would have more of an impact on ESPN.
It could also be a way for White to keep on ESPN’s good side despite the UFC’s major commitment to the FOX Sports 1 channel.