On the brink of competing for a coveted Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) world title, T.J. Grant suffered an untimely concussion in training late last week, forcing him out of a dream match against Lightweight Champion Ben Henderson that was set to go down at UFC 164 in Milwaukee Wisc., on Aug. 31, 2013.
After hometown boy Anthony Pettis was pegged as his replacement, conspiracy theorists began to work overtime, suggesting Grant was faking an injury to allow promotion officials to make bout for which mixed martial arts (MMA) fans have clamored between "Smooth" and Showtime."
While Grant was quick to dismiss that notion, he was just as swift to assuage doubts some might have that he is scared to challenge the best 155-pound fighter in the world. Even though he admitted that the decision to withdraw from the bout was based on his desire to have a long fight career and be able to enjoy is family.
He explained on a recent appearance on "The MMA Hour:"
"I'm not scared to fight anyone. If I was healthy and I knew that I could get in shape, I would've [tried it.]. It's a little scary. I wanted to kind of make the best decision for myself. I want to do what's best for me. I want to fight for a long time. I want to live a long time. I want to enjoy my baby girl and all that stuff, so I thought about it a lot and talked to the UFC doctor and all the doctors here. The decision was 100 percent mine."
Grant also revealed he isn't guaranteed a title shot upon his return, explaining that UFC matchmakers informed him that a worst case scenario would find him in a No. 1 contender eliminator match. It's a fight that could potentially take place in November, with Grant revealing he should be ready to step back into the Octagon around that time to reclaim his spot top spot.
And while he wouldn't mind taking on Josh Thomson -- a fighter who he believes is one win away from a title shot -- should he have to accept a bout in the interim, Grant prefers to take on the winner of Ben Henderson vs. Anthony Pettis right away.
However, he knows it's not guaranteed his situation will have a storybook ending ... unlike this guy.