TJ Grant (21-5, pictured) has tonight ruled himself out of a title bout with newly crowned UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis (17-2). Grant, who was originally pencilled in to take on Pettis later this year, in what would be the champions first title defence, revealed in a series of tweets that he is not at 100% just yet and that the UFC would be going with an alternative for the new champions first title defence.
Grant had originally been scheduled to take on former champion Benson Henderson (19-3) at UFC 164, however when Grant suffered a concussion during training, he had to withdraw from the bout, with the title shot then going to Pettis. UFC President Dana White stated following the bout that Grant was still next in line and would likely receive a title shot later this year. However, with the news of Grant still not being at 100% he admits that he may need to work his way back into title contention, when he is healthy to return. Grant stated;
“Hey people. Quick update. Unfortunately I won’t be fighting Pettis on Dec 14. I am still not yet 100% and can’t commit to fight. UFC is going with someone else instead. It sucks but it is the best for both myself and the UFC. Please don’t worry. Ill be back and if I gotta fight someone else to get back to where I wanna be then that’s what I’m gonna do. I’m not bitter. Thanks”
With Grant suggesting that the UFC still plan for Pettis to defend the title on December 14th, which is the date of the UFC on Fox 9 event, it will be interesting to see who they have in mind to take on the champion. Following UFC 164 Dana White had stated that former champion Benson Henderson would not receive an immediate rematch, with Pettis already having beaten him twice. However, with several of the top ten currently booked up it could be something that UFC officials reconsider.
Rafael Dos Anjos (20-6), currently ranked #6 in the UFC rankings is also likely to come into contention, having put together a five-fight winning streak in the UFC’s lightweight division, including a unanimous decision victory over Donald Cerrone (20-6 (1nc)) in his last outing at UFC Fight Night 27 last month.
A superfight with featherweight champion Jose Aldo (23-1) could also be a slim possibility, however the Brazilian superstar suffered a broken foot in his recent title defence at UFC 163, where he defeated Chan Sung Jung (13-4), and is unlikely to be ready in time.
We’ll look to keep you updated on the situation as more news becomes available.