UFC lightweight TJ Grant, who was supposed to fight Benson Henderson at UFC 164 this past Saturday, said he has earned a shot at new champion Anthony Pettis.
Back in February, it was announced that Pettis would drop to 145 pounds to fight featherweight champion Jose Aldo at UFC 163. But in June, Pettis suffered a slight MCL tear and had to withdraw from the fight. Aldo fought “the Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung instead and defended his title with a fourth-round TKO.
Grant then suffered a concussion while training to face Henderson, and Pettis — having recovered more quickly than expected — was called in to replace him. Pettis defeated the former lightweight champion by armbar submission at 0:38 in the first round.
“I’m pretty sure Aldo is a little banged up as well right now,” Grant said. “My opinion — I’m a fan, and I love watching UFC fights. I watch all of them, whether they’re people I’m potentially fighting or not, I enjoy it. Pettis against Aldo is an exciting fight.”
Grant, who is on a five-fight win streak, scored a victory over Gray Maynard at UFC 160 in May with a TKO at 2:07 in the first round. Before that, he knocked out Matt Wiman at 4:51 in the first round at UFC on Fox: Johnson vs. Dodson in January.
“I feel like I’ve earned it. I feel like I’m the guy. I’ve been in the UFC a long time,” he said. “I’ve never really gotten the push that I feel like I need but I’ve also built a lot of experience in fighting and haven’t been in the spotlight, which is nice too. But I’m ready to be there and I’m ready to go out there. Give me the opportunity man. I feel like I’ve earned it.”
The 29-year-old said he started some light workouts, but that the concussion has caused some problems. He said he would get nauseous and exhausted after playing with his kid for a few minutes, but he thinks the worst is behind him. He believed he should be ready to fight again by UFC 168 on December 28. While he had no qualms with fighting Benson Henderson, TJ Grant saw Anthony Pettis as the best matchup.
“I’m just excited because that’s the type of guy that I want to fight, the guy who’s willing to go out there and find out who’s better. We don’t need two or three rounds to figure that out,” he said “Let’s go out there and do it. I’m not trying to sound like a Rampage Jackson, but why do you need five rounds when you can sort it out in the first two or three minutes?”