Back of the line, bucko.
Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) lightweight number one contender, T.J. Grant, will challenge reigning division champion Ben Henderson for the 155-pound strap at the upcoming UFC 164 pay-per-view (PPV) event, scheduled for the BMO Harris Bradley Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on August 31, 2013.
He can thank the UFC doctors for that, who shot down a last-minute request from Anthony Pettis to bench Grant and take over the main event of the "Hometown Throwdown" to rematch "Smooth," after an untimely knee injury (details here) booted "Showtime" from his previously scheduled fight against Jose Aldo at UFC 163.
A request that Grant found "disrespectful" and "dirty," according to his conversation with ESPN.
"I wish it was handled a little differently; him of all people, I think it was disrespectful, to do that against someone who has earned the right to fight is not right. Unfortunately he got hurt, but it was low class, I thought. I didn't want to get into the whole talking thing. I got here legitimately and earned it. Ultimately, what he was saying was that he wanted my title shot which was incredibly disrespectful. It was pretty dirty."
Never too early to hype a Grant vs. Pettis feud, in the off chance the Fit Plus grappler -- winner of five straight -- can capture the crown in Milwaukee.
That would spoil plans for a Pettis vs. Henderson rematch. "Showtime" -- who surrendered his title shot earlier this year to try his luck at featherweight -- was able to put a beating on "Smooth" at the final World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) event in December 2010, stealing the promotion's 155-pound strap in the process.
Henderson rebounded by winning his next seven fights, including a unanimous decision over Frankie Edgar at UFC 144 to claim the lightweight throne. Some mixed martial arts (MMA) fans believe his title reign will not be legitimized until he defeats Pettis, who continues to suffer setbacks (like this one) in pursuit of his rematch.
Grant will undoubtedly look to hand him another later this summer.