Fortune has finally smiled on Anthony Pettis – at T.J. Grant’s expense.
UFC officials announced on Friday evening that Grant has been forced to withdraw from his lightweight title shot against Benson Henderson at 164. In his place steps Pettis, who recently pulled out of a featherweight title bout against Jose Aldo at UFC 163 on Aug. 3. UFC 164 takes place at the BMO Harris Bradley Center in Milwaukee on Aug. 31, presumably giving “Showtime” enough time to recover from his knee injury.
Pettis first faced Henderson at World Extreme Cagefighting’s final event in Dec. 2010. The Roufusport product became the promotion’s final 155-pound titlist in spectacular fashion, punctuating a unanimous decision triumph over Henderson with his now-famous “Showtime” kick in the final frame. Pettis was supposed to be in line to challenge for the UFC’s lightweight strap upon entering the promotion, but a loss to Clay Guida in his Octagon debut slowed his path to the title. The Milwaukee native has bested Jeremy Stephens, Joe Lauzon and Donald Cerrone in his last three outings.
“[You] can’t stop destiny!” Pettis tweeted on Friday night. “Me and Henderson for the belt in my hometown!”
Grant had reeled off five straight victories since dropping from welterweight to lightweight in 2011, with his first-round stoppage of Gray Maynard at UFC 160 earning him the No. 1 contender’s spot. Shortly after the announcement was made, the 29-year-old Canadian tweeted that a concussion suffered in jiu-jitsu training had forced him out of the showdown with Henderson.