Ben Henderson will be ready for Anthony Pettis rematch if 'Showtime' talks his way into UFC 164 title fight

USA TODAY Sports

Ben Henderson vs. Anthony Pettis for the lightweight title is the fight we wanted to see all along, but "Showtime" may have surrendered his spot in line when he made the decision to challenge Jose Aldo at featherweight. If he does manage to come back from injury at UFC 164 and take T.J. Grant's spot, "Smooth" insists he will be ready.

Streaking lightweight assassin, T.J. Grant, is expected to challenge Ben Henderson for the 155-pound title at the UFC 164 pay-per-view (PPV) event, scheduled for August 31, 2013 at the BMO Harris Bradley Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

But a lot can happen between now and then.

Just ask former light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida, who was promised a crack at the 205-pound crown on two separate occasions. Or welterweight contender Johny Hendricks, who took a back seat to Nick Diaz earlier this year in Montreal.

Could Grant suffer the same fate?

That depends on how quickly Anthony Pettis recovers from his recent knee injury, which was severe enough to boot him from his UFC 163 title fight against Jose Aldo on Aug. 3 in Brazil. "Showtime" holds a previous win over "Smooth" under the World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) banner and was already in line for a title shot when he made the hasty decision to drop to featherweight.

It was a calculated risk, but one that may have cost him dearly in the end.

That's because UFC Presidnt Dana White was less than optimistic about giving "Showtime" a spot on the Milwaukee card. Not because it would screw Grant out of the title shot he deserves, but rather because he doesn't believe Pettis will be healed in time.

As for Henderson? He tells MMA Fighting he doesn't care who his UFC 164 opponent is:

"As I've always said, I don't care who I fight or when I fight them. I'm going to do what I always do, which is continue training to be the best in the world. I'll just fight and let the others worry about talking their way into fights."

If Pettis is denied -- or just doesn't heal in time -- he could be riding the pine until the end of the year. Aldo has already been paired off against Chan Sung Jung, which means both champions are likely to need a minimum of three months turnaround time.

Or longer, depending on any potential injuries suffered in August.

As of now, nothing is set in stone. UFC 164 has already started selling tickets for "Henderson vs. Grant," but if there is one thing we've learned in mixed martial arts (MMA), fights are never really "official" until the cage door closes and two men are locked inside.

Until then, all we have is "card subject to change."

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