When T.J. Grant knocked out two-time title challenger Gray Maynard last May for his fifth straight win at lightweight – where he’s undefeated – the Canadian earned a shot at then-champion Benson Henderson. Unfortunately for him, Grant suffered a concussion in his training camp for Henderson and was forced to pull out.
Anthony Pettis would then step in for Grant and win the belt from Henderson this past August at UFC 164. Grant’s recovery from his concussion has been deliberate and justifiably long but he could at least conceivably comfort himself knowing that when he was ready, he’d get that coveted shot at the lightweight title he’d worked so hard for.
Turns out that Grant’s streak of bad luck is continuing. After Gilbert Melendez’s impressive win over Diego Sanchez this past weekend at UFC 166, promotion president Dana White said that “El Nino” very well could have bumped Grant back in the title contender’s line.
"T.J. Grant's in one of those unfortunate situations where he had the title shot and he had to pull out twice," White said, also calling Melendez’ win a “huge setback for T.J. Grant."
"He's in limbo. He might come back and have to fight another fight. We've got to keep this thing rolling."
Prior to beating Sanchez at UFC 166, Melendez lost a controversial decision to Henderson for the title in the former Strikeforce champ’s promotional debut. Melendez’s back to back impressive fights against Henderson and Sanchez, as well as a new champion in Pettis and Grant’s continuing recovery, may mean that Gilbert will get the first crack at the new champion in the near future.
What do you think? Is it fair for Grant to have to come back and fight someone else in order to get a title shot, and would you rather see Melendez fight Pettis first?