TJ Grant Says Benson Henderson vs. Anthony Pettis II 'Won't Happen' at UFC 164

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TJ Grant Says Benson Henderson vs. Anthony Pettis II 'Won't Happen' at UFC 164
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Former WEC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis wants a rematch with current UFC 155-pound champ Benson Henderson at UFC 164 in August, which takes place in his hometown of Milwaukee. 

If only it were that simple though. Two major issues here: Pettis had to pull out of his 145-pound title fight with Jose Aldo due to a knee injury, and "Bendo" is already booked to fight TJ Grant at the August pay-per-view in question. 

As expected, Grant, who earned his title shot after five-straight wins at lightweight, isn't ready to step aside just because the injury bug bit "Showtime" at an inopportune moment. 

Responding to a fan on Twitter, Grant made it clear he has every intention of fighting Henderson at the end of the summer, regardless of what Pettis wants: 

Pettis made his intentions known through a written statement sent to the FUEL TV post-fight analysis team.

However, UFC President Dana White doesn't believe Pettis' knee would be healed in time for UFC 164, so the head honcho immediately shot down the title fight request.

"Anthony Pettis' knee is not bad, but it's not good," White said when speaking to the media after UFC 161 ended.  "He doesn't require surgery, (but) he's going to have to go into therapy ... He talked to a doctor, and the doctor said he's out for a good six weeks, and he needs a good therapist, and he needs to get his knee back.  That's what our doctor said.  He talked to a therapist in Milwaukee who told him three weeks.  I could give a s—t what the therapist in Milwaukee things, I'm listening to the doctor.  I'm going to fly him out to Vegas to see Dr. Saunders, too, for a second opinion."

Fans have been clamoring for Pettis vs. Henderson II ever since their "Fight of the Year" effort in December 2010, where Pettis landed his infamous "Showtime Kick" off the cage. 

The flashy move is likely what solidified the unanimous decision victory for the Roufusport standout, who captured the WEC lightweight belt with the win. 

Pettis had his UFC debut spoiled by Clay Guida in June 2011, but has since rattled off three-straight wins over Jeremy Stephens, Joe Lauzon and Donald Cerrone

According to the UFC's official lightweight rankings, Pettis is the second best 155-pound fighter in the world, while Grant hold down the the third spot on the list. 

Grant last competed at UFC 160 last month, scoring a brutal first-round knockout over former UFC title challenger Gray Maynard. 

Is there even the slightest chance that Pettis vs. Henderson II is closer than anyone could have thought, or has this heavily-anticipated rematch been put on hold for 2013?

 

John Heinis is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. He is also the MMA Editor for eDraft.com and contributes MMA videos to The Young Turks Sports Show. 

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