Anthony Pettis is finally getting a shot at the UFC lightweight title, and will be taking on Benson Henderson at UFC 164 next month.
TJ Grant was supposed to fight the champion, but suffered an injury in training and was forced out of the bout. The promotion called in Pettis to replace him, and president Dana White confirmed the news on Twitter Friday night.
Pettis, excited by the news, tweeted, “Is this real life?” He later tweeted, “U can’t stop destiny!!! Me and Henderson for the belt in my home town!!!!” Pettis hails from Milwaukee, Wisconsin — the fight is being held at the BMO Harris Bradley Center.
The 26-year-old former has been on a three-fight win streak dating back to October 2011, when he defeated Jeremy Stephens by split decision at UFC 136. His next two wins against Joe Lauzon and Donald Cerrone at UFC 144 and UFC on Fox: Johnsonv vs. Dodson earned him Knockout of the Night honors.
Pettis and Henderson last met in the ring on December 16, 2010 at WEC 53, the final WEC event before it merged into the UFC. Pettis defeated Henderson by unanimous decision for the lightweight championship. The fight took Fight of the Night and Fight of the Year.
Pettis was scheduled to fight for the featherweight title at UFC 163, but a knee injury forced him out of the bout. He suffered a slight tear in his MCL, which didn’t require surgery, but meant that he would be unable to fight for a couple of weeks. Pettis saw UFC 164 as his next chance, but Grant had already been tapped. White didn’t think Pettis’ knee would heal in time, and it is unclear at the moment what made him change his mind.
UFC 164 will also feature Frank Mir and Josh Barnett in the heavyweight division and Chad Mendes and Glay Guida in the featherweight division.
And just in case you didn’t see the move that has since been named the “Showtime Kick,” you can watch Anthony Pettis win the WEC lightweight championship from Benson Henderson below.