TJ Grant will be the first person to get a title shot against new UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis.
UFC president Dana White confirmed the fight to MMA Fighting Tuesday. He said a fight with featherweight champion Jose Aldo was never considered because Grant “was next” to fight Pettis.
After UFC 164 Saturday, Grant said he had earned the right to fight Pettis. He was originally supposed to fight Benson Henderson, but suffered a concussion during training and was forced to withdraw. Pettis, who had suffered an MCL tear in June, recovered more quickly than expected and was called in to replace Grant. He defeated Henderson by armbar submission in the first round.
Grant, who is on a five-fight win streak, said, “I feel like I’ve earned it. I feel like I’m the guy.” He also said that he had started some light workouts and had “no setbacks,” but that the concussion had caused him some problems earlier in the summer.
“You know, it’s kind of weird, concussions affect a lot more than just having a headache. I couldn’t play with my kid for more than a few minutes without being exhausted and being really nauseous,” he said. “That was early in the summer. I feel like the worst is behind me and I’m just getting better. I know concussions affect your mood, and I’m a lot happier now. They’re all good signs.”
That must have made Dana White happy, because he agreed that Grant is “the guy,” although the Canadian said he didn’t hear the news from him first. The 29-year-old said he found out on Twitter Tuesday, but doesn’t know when the fight will be scheduled to take place.
“I didn’t expect to hear that so soon,” TJ Grant said. “What can I say? I am a happy man. It’s gonna be a hell of a fight.”