T.J. Grant Injured; Anthony Pettis Steps in vs. Benson Henderson at UFC 164

Damon MartinContributor IJuly 12, 2013

It's a fight that Anthony Pettis has wanted for the past two years, and now he's finally getting his crack at the UFC lightweight title.

News broke late Friday evening that current top LW contender T.J. Grant suffered an injury in training and was forced out of his upcoming bout at UFC 164 against champion Benson Henderson.

So, with just over a month to go until fight time, the UFC has called in Anthony Pettis to face Henderson in the new UFC 164 main event. The news was first reported by John Morgan of MMA Junkie and subsequently confirmed by UFC president Dana White on Twitter.

It didn't take Pettis long to react as well, tweeting out, "Is this real life?" He was obviously quite happy with the news and shortly added the following:

Pettis was actually scheduled to fight for the UFC featherweight title on August 3, but a knee injury forced him out of the UFC 163 bout with Jose Aldo. "Showtime" was advised he had a slight tear in his MCL, which would not require surgery but would put him out of action for a few weeks.

Immediately, Pettis saw August 31 in his hometown of Milwaukee as a golden opportunity to return and face Henderson. By that time, however, the UFC had already installed Grant as the No. 1 contender.

Even when Pettis was hopeful about gaining the slot, White shot down the idea because he didn't believe that his knee would be ready in time, according to MMA Junkie's Matt Erickson. Whatever changed between then and now is unknown, but Pettis will get the shot.

The last time Pettis and Henderson met was in the final WEC show back in December 2010. The fight was an instant classic, but it was capped off in the fifth and final round with Pettis uncorking a never-before-seen kick off the cage to slam his foot into Henderson's face.

The move was eventually dubbed the "Showtime kick" and made just about every highlight reel on television the next day. Pettis won the fight by unanimous decision.

Now, he will have a chance to do it all over again. And this time, for the UFC lightweight title.

Also featured on the UFC 164 card at the BMO Harris Bradley Center will be a heavyweight bout between Frank Mir and the returning Josh Barnett, as well as a featherweight clash between Chad Mendes and Clay Guida.


Damon Martin is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report.