UFC 164 Update: TJ Grant Injured, Anthony Pettis in to Rematch Benson Henderson
In a fight fans have wanted for quite some time, Anthony Pettis will fill in for the injured TJ Grant to challenge Benson Henderson’s lightweight championship at UFC 164.
By Christopher Murphy @MurphMMA
Anthony Pettis will finally get his UFC title shot, and rematch, against current UFC lightweight champion, Benson Henderson. Pettis will be filling in for TJ Grant, Henderson’s original opponent, at UFC 164 on August 31.
Pettis has been in the process of finding his next opponent after having to pull out of a featherweight title shot against Jose Aldo at UFC 163 due to a torn meniscus. He recently talked about returning to face Josh Thomson, at which time he stated that he has returned to training this week.
TJ Grant released via Twitter the nature of his injury. He suffered a concussion, and the lightweight fighter was quick to dispel any rumors of conspiracy.
“Thanks everyone for your concerns,” Grant wrote. “I am healing from a concussion I suffered in BJJ of all things. I hope to be back training very soon.”
“Sorry all you conspiracy theorists,” he posted later. “@danawhite / @ufc did not and could not pay me any amount of money to step aside.”
Anthony Pettis is coming off three consecutive wins, the last two of which were impressive first-round knockouts of Joe Lauzon and Donald Cerrone. Following both KO victories, Pettis put himself at the top of the list to fight Henderson, but had not been able to secure that bout.
Benson Henderson won the UFC lightweight title from Frankie Edgar at UFC 144, and he has successfully defended it three times: first to Edgar in an immediate rematch, then to Nate Diaz, and most recently to former Strikeforce lightweight champion, Gilbert Melendez. After each victory, Henderson mentioned Pettis as a potential next challenger, due to his impressive wins of late and their previous fight.
At WEC 53, Pettis and Henderson faced off in what was named fight of the night, and later, fight of the year. Pettis would win a unanimous decision, landing one of the most memorable head-kicks in MMA history.
UFC 164 will be held at the BMO Harris Bradley Center in Milwaukee, WI, Saturday, August 31. In addition to the much-anticipated rematch between Henderson and Pettis, the card will feature Frank Mir as he welcomes Josh Barnett back to the UFC. The UFC has yet to announce the bout order or the broadcast network for preliminary fights, though the main card will be Pay-Per-View.