Josh Thomson, not TJ Grant, will be facing Anthony Pettis at UFC On FOX 9 for his new UFC Lightweight championship on December 14th. Grant was originally slated to take on Benson Henderson at UFC 164 for the Lightweight championship, however, he would suffer a serious concussion and be forced to withdraw from the bout. Pettis would take Grant’s place to face Henderson in a 2010 rematch where he landed the now famous, “showtime” kick and won the WEC Lightweight championship by unanimous decision in the promotion’s final event. Pettis would win the UFC 164 rematch as well, this time by submitting Henderson, who had then never been finished in his pro career and once again, taking his belt.
At this point, everyone believed Grant would be the first person to challenge Pettis for the title, but, this wasn’t the case and Grant would take to Twitter on Monday night to let us in on why:
“Hey people. Quick update. Unfortunately I won’t be fighting Pettis on dec 14. I am still not yet 100% n 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 unable to fight, there was only one other clear choice, former Strikeforce Lightweight champion, Josh Thomson. The 34 year old veteran of the sport may be down to his very last chance to wear UFC gold and he won’t take the opportunity lightly. His most recent fight was his return to the UFC due to the merger with Strikeforce. In his return, he would do what no other man has yet to do, finish former title challenger Nate Diaz by way of strikes.
After defeating Diaz, Thomson looked like he may be one impressive victory away from that UFC title shot. However, there was a problem, in a stacked UFC Lightweight division, there just weren’t any opponents that made sense for Thomson that weren’t already booked.
While Thomson may not be the “true” number one contender at Lightweight, he has proved that he is worthy of fighting for the championship. The bout with Pettis will be an intriguing match-up of two very well versed strikers, that could end with the slightest blink of an eye. Best of all, this fight will be taking place on FREE TV! So make sure to set your DVR for December 14th, because this is one that you do not want to miss.
Photo Credit: Ester Lin/MMA Fighting