Newly crowned UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis will not be defending his title against top contender TJ Grant, as expected. "Showtime" will make his first title defense against number five ranked Josh "The Punk" Thomson at UFC on FOX 9 this December 14. The bout is not yet official, but has been verbally agreed to.
Grant was expected to face former champion Benson Henderson this past August, but was forced to pull out of the bout after suffering a concussion in training. Grant was expected to face Pettis at UFC on FOX 9, but opted out of the bout out of the bout, concerned that he wasn't yet fit to fight. Grant, who is on a five-fight winning streak in the UFC, revealed on Twitter that he wouldn't be ready to fight Pettis and is sacrificing his shot at the belt.
"I am still not yet 100% and can't commit to fight," Grant posted. "It sucks but it is the best for both myself and the UFC. Please don't worry. I'll be back."
The resurgent Thomson will be stepping up in his stead. The UFC announced that Thomson, who recently handed Nate Diaz his first TKO loss, will be challenging Pettis in his first title defense.
UFC on FOX 9 is expected to be held on December 14 at the Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento, California. Grant indicated his willingness to face another challenger upon his return in order to regain his chance at the title. Urijah Faber and Michael McDonald will also face off on the card in a bantamweight bout with title implications.
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