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Anthony Pettis Out 7 to 8 Weeks, Will Face TJ Grant in First UFC Lightweight Championship Defense

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Anthony Pettis Out 7 to 8 Weeks, Will Face TJ Grant in First UFC Lightweight Championship Defense
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Anthony Pettis Out 7 to 8 Weeks, Will Face TJ Grant in First UFC Lightweight Championship Defense

UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis suffered a Grade 2 sprain of his left knee, according to UFC president Dana White, who revealed the extent of the injury on SportsCenter on Tuesday night.

The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons defines a Grade 2 sprain as an injury that “stretches the ligament to the point where it becomes loose. This is often referred to as a partial tear of the ligament.”

Pettis’s injury does not require surgery, but will keep him sidelined for seven to eight weeks.

When he returns, Pettis already has his first title defense lined up. As White told Yahoo! Sports reporter Kevin Iole earlier in the day on Tuesday, the champ will have No. 1 contender T.J. Grant waiting for him upon his return.

Pettis captured the UFC lightweight championship with a first-round armbar submission of Benson Henderson at Saturday night’s UFC 164 at the Bradley Center in Milwaukee. It was the second time Pettis defeated Henderson.

The first time the two met was at WEC 53 in December of 2010. Henderson was the champion going into that bout as well. Pettis landed his now infamous “Showtime Kick” en route to a five-round unanimous decision.

Grant has been anxiously awaiting a UFC lightweight title shot since defeating Gray Maynard at UFC 160 in May.

He was supposed to have fought Henderson at UFC 164, while Pettis had originally been slated to drop down to featherweight to challenge champion Jose Aldo at UFC 163. Both fell out of their respective bouts due to injury, but Pettis’ recovery allowed him to return in time to take Grant’s place and defeat Henderson for the belt.

Although Pettis is now out with the knee sprain, Grant is also currently sidelined, recovering from the concussion that knocked him out of the Henderson fight. Both should be ready by year’s end, barring any setbacks.

White also mentioned that if Pettis were to successfully defend the belt against Grant that the previously scheduled fight with Aldo would likely be next on the docket, and that Gilbert Melendez was also in the title talk mix at lightweight.

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