It’s been a rough couple of months for T.J. Grant.
It seems like only yesterday when Grant finished a very durable Gray Maynard early in the first round of their bout at UFC 160 on Memorial Day weekend. The win not only pushed Grant to 5-0 at 155 pounds, but also earned him a shot at Benson Henderson for the lightweight championship.
Fast forward to July where Grant, ailing from a concussion received training camp, saw his title shot slip away and into the hands of Anthony Pettis. Grant was forced to watch from home as the man who replaced him won the belt he felt was his.
But the fight gods seemed to smile on Grant, as UFC President Dana White announced he was looking at booking Grant as Pettis’ first opponent as UFC Lightweight champion at UFC on Fox 9 on Dec. 14 in Sacramento.
But less than a week later, Grant took to Twitter to reveal he was still suffering from concussion-like symptoms and would unfortunately have to pull out of another championship fight.
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
— TJ Grant (@TJ_Grant) September 17, 2013
Mere minutes after the news broke that Grant vs. Pettis was no longer an option, the UFC announced on Fox Sports 1 they had booked former Strikeforce champion Josh Thomson as Pettis’ first test as champion.
Thomson is most known for his trilogy against longtime rival and final Strikeforce champion Gilbert Melendez. In his last fight, fans saw “The Punk” become the first man to finish Nate Diaz after a violent head kick forced Diaz’s corner to throw in the towel in the second round.
Pettis didn’t waste any time in expressing his excitement to get back in to the octagon after a rough of years forced ‘Showtime” to miss a significant amount of time due to injury.
— Anthony Pettis (@Showtimepettis) September 17, 2013
UFC on FOX 9 takes place December 14, 2013 at the Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento, California. A bantamweight bout between Urijah Faber vs. Michael McDonald has also been confirmed for the co-main event.
Other fights announced this week:
• Erik Perez vs. Edwin Figueroa at UFC 167
• Clint Hester vs. Dylan Andrews at UFC Fight Night 33
• Derek Brunson vs. Antonio Braga Neto at UFC Fight Night 31
• Ed Herman vs. Rafael Natal at UFC 167