Anthony Pettis vs. Josh Thomson Booked for UFC on FOX 9 Headliner

Steven Rondina@srondinaFeatured ColumnistSeptember 17, 2013

It didn't take Josh Thomson long to vault back to the top of the lightweight division. The former Strikeforce champion is now slated to fight Anthony "Showtime" Pettis in a lightweight title fight on December 14 at UFC on Fox 9.

The news was announced immediately after news broke that Canadian grappler-turned-slugger TJ Grant is unable to fight Pettis on the date due to the same lingering concussion troubles that kept him out of a UFC 164 fight with then-champion Benson "Smooth" Henderson.

Pettis replaced Grant in that fight and won via first-round submission.

It's an unfortunate turn for Grant, but is a massive opportunity for Thomson.

Thomson is one of the most enduring veterans of the lightweight division, who actually made his UFC debut at UFC 44, in the days before the post-BJ Penn collapse of 2004, which caused the division to be disbanded.

He joined Strikeforce shortly thereafter, where he would fight 13 times, racking up a 10-3 record (losing only to Gilbert Melendez and Clay Guida).

He rejoined the UFC after an eight-year hiatus and made the most of the opportunity by knocking out long-time contender Nate Diaz. He dominated the popular submission artist before scoring a fearsome knockout in Round 2. It was the first knockout loss of Diaz's career.

While he dropped a tight split decision to Gilbert Melendez before that at Strikeforce: Barnett vs. Cormier, few are questioning the legitimacy of Thomson's title shot.

There are currently no other fights attached to UFC on Fox 9. Stick with Bleacher Report for more details on the card as they become available.