Coach: Pettis never fully healed from title fight knee injury
When Anthony Pettis submitted Benson Henderson in August to win the UFC lightweight championship, it came at a price.
A kick Henderson delivered to Pettis’ knee caused significant damage that he never quite healed from, his trainer Duke Roufus told MMA Junkie.
“Anthony had been nursing it and trying to heal up, and he had just been training,” Roufus said. “It did not bounce back the way he hoped it would.”
According to Roufus, Pettis was sparring recently and was hurt by a kick to his left knee and things only got worse during a grappling session.
“Someone was on his back and pulled his leg to release the hook, and it was just excruciating pain,” Roufus said.
After the Henderson fight an MRI revealed a grade II PCL sprain and LCL strain to his left knee. Pettis was expected to be out of action for a couple of months
The UFC wanted a bout between Pettis and T.J. Grant for December at UFC on FOX 9, but Grant, the No. 1 contender, withdrew due to lingering effects from a concussion. Former Strikeforce champ Josh Thomson was penciled in to fight Pettis at the event but over the weekend the 155-pound champ had to withdraw after doctor visits in both Milwaukee and Las Vegas.
“He’s been training the most meticulous and careful that he’s ever trained,” Roufus said. “It’s just the knee isn’t healing the way he anticipated it to heal. He can stand up and do pads and cardio. He can do strength and conditioning. It’s getting kicked at and jiu-jitsu that are problems for him right now. If he had a boxing match right now, he’d be great.”
A timeline for Pettis to be cleared to fight has yet to be established.
“It’s touch and go from here, just trying to stay positive and see what the next step is,” Roufus said. “I feel bad for Josh Thomson; he was excited. Everyone knows that injuries happen in our sport. It’s just hard to deal with them sometimes.”