UFC on Fox 9 has had a date for quite some time, but just recently got a venue and location: the Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento.
Now, the fight card is starting to take shape.
UFC president Dana White on Wednesday told UFC Tonight that he is targeting UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis’ first title defense as the UFC on Fox 9 main event. If it comes to fruition, he’ll put the belt on the line against No. 1 contender T.J. Grant.
Pettis injured his knee in capturing the belt from Benson Henderson, but the injury was deemed a Grade 2 sprain, meaning he should be good to go well before December.
The question mark, however, is if Grant would be ready. Grant was the original opponent for Henderson, but suffered a concussion in training. He told UFC Tonight’s Ariel Helwani that he was targeting a return in January, but would consider December if that’s what the UFC wants.
One fight that has been booked, according to UFC officials on Twitter, is Urijah Faber vs. Michael McDonald. It will serve as the co-main event in Sacramento, Faber’s hometown. McDonald's manager, Tom Call, confirmed that a verbal agreement is in place for the bout.
Faber (29-6) is on a three-fight winning streak, after losing in his bid to become the UFC interim bantamweight champion by dropping a unanimous decision to Renan Barao at UFC 149 last summer. His streak has kept him in the thick of title contention and a win over McDonald would likely put him right at the top of the list.
McDonald (16-2) also failed in his own bid to become the interim champ when Barao submitted him at UFC on Fuel TV 7 in February. That loss ended an eight-fight winning streak.
McDonald has since bounced back by submitting Brad Pickett at the recent UFC Fight Night 26 in Boston.
White indicated that Faber’s teammate, Chad Mendes, is also a target for the UFC on Fox 9 fight card, although no probably opponent was named.