UFC Lightweight Champion Anthony Pettis Out 7-8 Weeks With Knee Sprain

Newly crowned UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis has been sidelined with a sprained right knee.

The injury will require seven to eight weeks of rehabilitation, UFC president Dana White said.

“It’s a [posterior cruciate ligament] sprain — a Grade 2 sprain. He’s got [a lateral collateral ligament] strain, but there are no major tears and he will be back in seven to eight weeks,” White said on Sportscenter Tuesday. “He’ll have seven to eight weeks of therapy and then he will fight TJ Grant in his first defense.”

The 26-year-old suffered the injury when he checked a kick from Benson Henderson early on in their championship fight at UFC 164 Saturday night. Pettis said he heard a pop in his knee at the time, and that it was too tender for him to put weight on that leg after the fight. He underwent an MRI Tuesday to find out exactly what was wrong, but the initial results were inconclusive. Pettis’ manager Mike Roberts said the results were being looked at by a radiologist, but that there was no major damage.

“I know there’s no significant damage,” Roberts said. “There is no ACL or MCL damage.”

It was after Roberts’ interview that White revealed that the injury was a grade 2 sprain.

Anthony Pettis’ first title defense opponent is also recovering from an injury. TJ Grant, who was supposed to fight Henderson at 164, suffered a concussion during training and was forced to withdraw from the fight. Grant said he had started light workouts and that he hadn’t suffered any setbacks. The 29-year-old Canadian said the concussion had affected his mood earlier in the summer, but that he was feeling happier now, which was a good sign. Grant won’t be back in full training until later this year, so a match against Pettis could happen in early 2014.

If Anthony Pettis defeats TJ Grant, he could take on featherweight champion Jose Aldo next.