Anthony Pettis Sidelined 7 Weeks with Knee Strain, 'No Signifcant Damage' Done

Damon Martin@@DamonMartinContributor ISeptember 3, 2013

Aug 31, 2013; Milwaukee, WI, USA;  Anthony Pettis reacts after beating Benson Henderson (not pictured) to win the Lightweight Championship during the UFC-164 bout at BMO Harris Bradley Center.  Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

New UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis will have to sit out a little while with a banged-up knee, but he won't be on the sidelines long after visiting his doctors on Tuesday.

Pettis underwent an MRI to find out exactly what happened to his knee that was injured when he checked a kick from Henderson in the early going of their fight last Saturday night in Milwaukee.

At the time, Pettis heard a pop in his knee. He said after the bout was over that it was too tender for him to put weight down on the leg, so he would have to undergo further testing before knowing what was wrong.

Pettis completed the MRI, but he was awaiting final word on what exactly went wrong with his knee.

"The knee's still a little bit sore. We went and got the MRI this morning; we got the results back. They're a little bit inconclusive, so as we're speaking they're being looked over by a radiologist. After that we'll know exactly what's wrong," Pettis' manager Mike Roberts said on Tuesday. "So we should know tonight. I was hoping to know by now, but the initial MRI was a little bit inconclusive."

Following the interview with Roberts, UFC president Dana White revealed on ESPN's SportsCenter that once doctors had more time to examine the MRI results, Pettis suffered a knee sprain and will only be sidelined for seven weeks with the injury.

His manager reported similar news in the interview, saying that while the MRI was initially inconclusive, they were aware at the time that he suffered no major damage to his knee.

"I know there's no significant damage," Roberts said. "There is no ACL or MCL damage."

The final diagnosis, according to White, was a grade 2 PCL strain and LCL strain.

The UFC has dealt with a couple of their champions having major reconstructive knee surgery lately. Both welterweight king Georges St-Pierre and bantamweight champ Dominick Cruz underwent ACL replacement surgery. St-Pierre was out for over a year, while Cruz remains on the shelf and is approaching two full years since his last fight.

Pettis will still have to undergo some rehab as well as rest the knee for the time being, but then he can move forward in less than two months to get ready for his first title defense against top contender T.J. Grant.

"It's very positive," Roberts said.

Grant is still recovering from a concussion he suffered in July and won't be back in full training until later this year, so the timing should work out perfectly to schedule a lightweight title fight during the first part of 2014.

If Pettis is victorious over Grant, his next opponent according to White would then likely be current UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo. Plenty has to happen before that can even become a reality. For now, Pettis can rest and then get ready for Grant when he returns.

Damon Martin is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report, and all quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted.

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