TJ Grant Won't Be Ready for Anthony Pettis on Dec. 14; Josh Thomson Steps in

Steven RondinaFeatured ColumnistSeptember 16, 2013

May 25, 2013; Las Vegas, NV, USA; TJ Grant during UFC 160 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Unfortunate news on Twitter right now regarding lightweight top contender TJ Grant. The heavy-handed Canadian is withdrawing from a rumored fight with Anthony "Showtime" Pettis. Here are the tweets: 

Hey people. Quick update. Unfortunately I won't be fighting Pettis on dec 14. I am still not yet 100% n can't commit to fight. UFC is going

— TJ Grant (@TJ_Grant) September 17, 2013

With someone else instead. It sucks but it is the best for both myself and the UFC. Please don't worry. Ill be back and if I gotta fight

— TJ Grant (@TJ_Grant) September 17, 2013

Someone else to get back to where I wanna be then that's what I'm gonna do. I'm not bitter. Thanks

— TJ Grant (@TJ_Grant) September 17, 2013

TJ Grant rose to sudden prominence in 2012. After an unremarkable run at welterweight in 2009 and 2010, where he amassed a 3-3 record in the UFC, he dropped to lightweight. He has since gone 5-0, most recently scoring a huge surprise knockout over longtime contender Gray Maynard. 

While that win initially lined him up for a crack at Benson Henderson at UFC 164, he suffered a concussion while training that forced him to withdraw from the fight. Pettis would replace him, and went on to beat Henderson via first-round armbar. While Grant was then initially slated to cash in his top-contender status (apparently on December 14, according to the tweet), he is now being forced to withdraw, likely due to lingering trouble from the concussion.

Obviously, there is no news on who his replacement will be. There are several interesting bouts that could yield a replacement, however.

Pat Healy and Khabib Nurmagomedov are set to fight at UFC 165 this weekend. An emphatic win by Nurmagomedov would give him a strong case for a shot at the belt, while Pat Healy holds claim to top-contender status courtesy of his time at Strikeforce (he had two bouts with champion Gilbert Melendez cancelled before the promotion closed). This may also open the door for a much-sought-after superfight with Jose Aldo.

Stick with Bleacher Report for more details as they become available.

Update:

Former Strikeforce champion Josh Thomson will replace Grant for the December 14 fight with Pettis. Thomson most recently fought former top contender Nate Diaz, dominating him during the bout before finishing him in the second round with a scary knockout.  

BREAKING: @TJ_Grant is out and @THEREALPUNK will now fight @Showtimepettis for the lightweight title at #UFConFOX9 on December 14th!

— UFCONFOX (@UFCONFOX) September 17, 2013