Overnight, word broke over Twitter that TJ Grant could not be cleared in time medically for a December 2013 meeting with current UFC 155 kingpin Anthony Pettis. This is the second time TJ has had to bow out of a title shot due to the same concussion he suffered training for a meeting with former champ Ben Henderson. This must be one serious concussion.
This is also devastating news for Grant who originally earned a title shot after finishing off Gray Maynard in short order and going undefeated since dropping to 155.
Unfortunately, time and again, injuries take the most worthy contenders and escort them to the back of the line, reshuffling the deck. For the UFC’s 155 class, the silver lining is the depth of the division.
To that end, UFC matchmakers have tapped Strikeforce vet Josh the Punk Thomson to replace Grant (called it) in what would no doubt be a most entertaining fight, especially since the two have a recent history and jawed back and forth through Twitter earlier this year.
I would love to see the matchup since Thomson tends to shine when he’s fighting anyone not named Gilbert Melendez. And there’s little to say about how entertaining Pettis is that hasn’t already been said. However, I just don’t see this fight happening, at least not by year’s end. Thompson tends to be injury prone, and Pettis seems to hit the injury speed bump more often than most. If they can stay healthy during their respective camps, I would love to be proved wrong and will gladly eat my hat.
For fans, the Grant injury should set up a showdown with Benson Henderson at some point, and the Gilbert Melendez/Diego Sanchez October matchup stays intact (whew!). It also gives guys like Khabib Nurmagomedov, Jim Miller, Gleison Tibau, Edson Barboza, and Miles Jury the time to put their own stamp on the division and set themselves apart from the pack.