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TJ Grant Out, Josh Thomson Steps In to Challenge Anthony Pettis at UFC on Fox 9

Posted on by Ken Pishna

Josh Thomson StrikeforceJosh Thomson has been anxiously awaiting his next opponent on his return trip to the UFC, and now he’s got it.

Thomson will get the first crack at newly minted UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis in the UFC on Fox 9 main event on Dec. 14 at Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento, Calif.

The UFC had been trying to line up Pettis up against TJ Grant, since Pettis took Grant’s spot at UFC 164 to win the belt from Benson Henderson. Grant, however, said on Monday that he wouldn’t be quite ready by Dec. 14.

“Hey people. Quick update. Unfortunately I won’t be fighting Pettis on dec 14. I am still not yet 100% n can’t commit to fight,” Grant tweeted. “UFC is going with someone else instead. It sucks but it is the best for both myself and the UFC.

“Please don’t worry. Ill be back and if I gotta fight Someone else to get back to where I wanna be then that’s what I’m gonna do. I’m not bitter. Thanks”

The UFC later utilized its Fox partnership to announce on Monday night’s Fox Sports Live that Josh Thomson would be Pettis’ first challenger and headline the UFC on Fox 9 card.

Thomson (20-5, 1 no contest) is a former Strikeforce champion. He made the jump to the Octagon along with the rest of the Strikeforce fighters when the UFC assimilated the now-defunct promotion’s roster earlier this year.

He was 2-1 in his initial run in the UFC during 2003 and 2004, but his time was cut short when the UFC discontinued the lightweight division for a time.

Thomson scored a TKO stoppage of Nate Diaz in his Octagon return at UFC on Fox 7 in April.

Pettis (17-2) is fresh off of his first-round submission of Benson Henderson at UFC 164 on Aug. 31. It was his fourth consecutive victory after losing to Clay Guida in his UFC debut.

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  • bobcoy

    Does josh Thompson deserve that shot?
    Seems like he jumped ahead . Just saying..

    • Advance*

      I’m looking at the rankings right now and he’s the only one in the top 5 other than Grant that isn’t coming off a loss. I’m sure that’s their logic. Dos Anjos is ranked 6th and is probably more deserving, but I’d rather see Thomson get the fight personally.

  • Jay Mcgarrity

    Lucky break for Thomson with only a win over diaz in the UFC. I guess Gil just got a title shot and lost, Gray only has 1 win since his loss to Frankie and is scheduled to fight Diaz, Dos Anjos probably isn’t ready for a title shot yet, so Thomson is the only logical choice left in the weight class. I would still rather see Pettis and Aldo go at it but this should be a good fight. I see Pettis winning but wouldn’t be shocked if Thomson took it. Go Pettis!!!

    • deepgrim

      agree lucky is right, but he is coming off a seriously impressive performance so wish him well. it will only get more and more common that fighters will get injured pre fight as they are training very hard

    • lolol

      Great for thomson! In my opinion this guy rarely fight.. and he beat the crap out of nate diaz the dude with an iron chin and loud mouth. Beating him the way he did should be in line because nate was number 2. Only twice he lost to was the former lightweight champ gilbert melendez, whom he beat once.

      Pettis fought many strikers but not in a caliber of josh. True pettis beat cerrone but that guy hardly punch back much whenever he get hit.

      I rather see frankie edgar vs anthony pettis heck many strikers pettis hasn’t face yet! Gomi, Melvin gulliard. barboza or aldo!

      Pettis should fight melendez which honestly makes more sense since he was the strikeforce champ….

    • uncle

      Thomson is the best replacement right now

  • David Huenecke

    I think this could be a really good fight. Both are extremely well rounded with pettis being the better striker. But if Josh can weather a storm of standup his ground game might be enough to pull it out. To be fair though I dont think he will be able to defend the title. Too many good up and comers.

    • Kris-tyahn

      If you don’t think Pettis will be champ for a while, you are sadly mistaken. This guy is a beast & he will be the first to beat Aldo, if Lamas doesn’t do it first. I’m not saying Lamas is going to beat Aldo, but he has a good chance of beating him, but Pettis would certainly beat Aldo. IMHO!

      • David Huenecke

        I was actually saying that IF josh somehow manages to win HE wont be champ very long.

        • Lucas Freire

          Pettis’ ground game is very underrated.
          His guard is very active and he’s able to pull great submissions, as we all saw against Bendo.
          I think Pettis has a style very similar to Condit.
          They both have a very agressive stand-up game, and don’t care that much about Takedown Defense because their guards are just so active that there’s hardly any dry humper that’s able to pin them down and dish some damage

  • JDMMA

    I never knew a concussion in training could be this serious

  • Cigano

    I reckon Ross Pearson vs Pettis would’ve been a smarter pick.

    • Lucas Freire

      huh…Why?
      Unless you’re kidding…Pearson is hardly a top15 fighter. While Thomson may be jumping ahead some guys, he has better names on his record than most guys on the division

      • Cigano

        pearson vs pettis I find entertaining and both guys can be aggressive and put on a good showing.

        • Ian Price

          Pearson is a great fighter, but top 8 at best. Pettis is like #8 on the P4P list! It wouldn’t even be close. Ross needs 1-2 more wins vs top 10 fighters before earning a fight with someone like Pettis.

          • Cigano

            Thomson isn’t anywhere top ten either, he’s still relatively unknown to the general public. He’s only getting a title shot due to the lightweight division being so thin now.

          • Kbroesq

            That’s ridiculous. Look at his record. His only questionable loss in the last 8 years has been to Kawarji and that was a decision. Other than Henderson, he’s the last guy to beat Melendez and he has another split decision loss with Melendez and a decision loss. The guy has gone 15 rounds with Gilbert Melendez and won a lot of those rounds.

            And by the way, KO’ing Nate Diaz is pretty impressive. I’m not saying he’s going to beat Pettis, but he’s the right choice under the circumstances.

          • Cigano

            He’s still undeserving of a title shot esp after just one fight regardless the circumstaces

          • Kbroesq

            Well, here’s the bottom line, Mr. Kent: when people say things like this, the next most logical question to pose to them is: “well, then who do you think IS deserving.”

            Because your answer to this question elicits a fighter who was getting beat at 145 and has only beat mediocre competition since returning to LW, no one can even take you seriously.

            I love Ross Pearson, so don’t think I’m hating on the guy, but to say he’s more deserving the Thomspon is just absurd on so many levels, and then to support that by saying he only has one fight is even more absurd. He’s clearly been fighting UFC caliber competition before that “one fight,” so how is that even relevant!? I’ll answer that; it’s not!

            Furthermore, in that “one fight” he did something no other fighter has done.

          • Ian Price

            Unknown yes. But not top ten? I disagree. He’s right up there with Melendez. And Melendez is right there with bendo.

        • Kbroesq

          Yeah, Pettis fighting me would be entertaining too because you would see Pettis beat the S&^$ of me. That doesn’t mean it’s the fight that should happen.

          This comment has to be a joke. Ross Pearson…seriously?

          • Cigano

            Thomson getting a title shot after one fight is a joke.

          • Kbroesq

            Well, while I disagree with you completely, that’s a separate issue all together, now isn’t it? The comment had nothing to do with whether Thompson deserved a shot (while I do argue that he does deserve it elsewhere), and everything to do with your call for Pearson to get a title shot.

            I was questioning your claim (which really is a joke) that Pearson should get a title shot. Even if you think Thompson doesn’t deserve a title shot, he CERTAINLY deserves it more than Pearson.

            Also, in response to your “one fight” claim, that’s ridiculous too. First of all, he doesn’t have “one fight”; he has one fight IN THE UFC. Before that, he was fighting in the next most reputable organization against the best and doing quite well against them. And if you want to call Strikeforce a joke, then you might want to look at how well their lightweights are doing against UFC fighters. In fact, I think Melendez and Noons are the only LW’s that have lost in the UFC.

    • uncle

      When Pearson gets knocked out by Guillard
      then you will see who deserves a shot.

      • Cigano

        guillard is nowhere near a title shot and his ground game sucks. Thomson has yet to earn a title shot. so what if he beat up nate diaz, rory macdonald kicked his ass too for 3 full rounds and didn’t get a title shot.

        • uncle

          Who did Pearson beat to get a title shot? Sotiropoulos,Couture
          come on now

          • Cigano

            pearson has yet to be tested against a top lightweight. who has Thomson beaten, a washed up nate diaz who couldn’t make in at middleweight who cant make it in lightweight either? lol

          • Lucas Freire

            Washed up Nate Diaz?
            He’s a top contender at LW.

          • Cigano

            Not with back to back losses he isn’t. Besides, Pearson has fought more well known names in the ufc than Thomson has

          • Lucas Freire

            With back to back losses he’s still a top10. Pearson isn’t.
            I agree that Pearson is a fighter that always brings it up, very entertaining and very technical boxing but he isn’t a top10 fighter.
            And please, he has FOUGHT, but LOST to every above-average guy he fought against.
            Thomson has wins against Melendez, KJ Noons, Diaz and JZ.
            Pearson’s greatest win was against Sotiropoulos or Siver?

          • uncle

            So losing to Benson whom was the champ at the time makes you washed up, Thomson is a beast
            first person to finish Nate which is
            more higher in rank, then any of
            Pearson’s fights and Diaz was in WW not MW

          • Cigano

            Nobody nobody knows who Thomson is and I doubt anyone cares. Just like Grant, he hasn’t done anything to get a title shot. I’d rather see Pearson get a title shot over Thomson regardless top ten or not.

          • Kbroesq

            So why don’t you just say that and you’d save a lot of arguing? The controversy you’re sparking here is not when you say “I’d rather see Pearson get a shot.” It’s when you say that Pearson deserves it more than Thomson or when you say Thompson isn’t deserving. You can’t say a guy like Thompson isn’t deserving and then recommend Ross Pearson as the alternative because you will get legitimately s*#( on for saying that.

            Why don’t you just say: “I don’t like Thompson; I like Ross Pearson; I’d like to see Pearson get a title shot over Thompson.” Then people can’t argue with you.

          • Cigano

            Pearson is more deserving than Thomson. How many fights has Thomson won in ufc in his latest stay? Pearson to me has done enough to warrant a title shot.

  • http://www.CombatScienceMMA.com/ CombatScienceMMA

    This fight is way better IMO. Best of luck to Grant in recovery though.

  • shakejunt

    unfortunate news, but josh is definitely the next guy in line. hope tj gets better soon, he’s been great to watch and one of the few guys to have success after dropping weightclasses.

  • Darin

    Being the only dude to finish Nate, and given Thompson’s aggressive style, this should be an exciting fight that Pettis will likely win.

  • Mr Pete

    i hate people who only look at win/lost statistics and make ignorant comments. if people actually watched his fights, you would know he has only lost twice legitimately. He was robbed in both Gilbert losses, dry hump Guida is debatable

    Dont sleep on Thompson, he is a legitimate threat to Pettis.

    • el che

      while i agree with your sentiment, Thomson was granted a gift decision victory over JZ – just saying is all.

      • Mr Pete

        eh.. I give you that, it wasnt obviously blatant by any means. Josh needs to learn how to wall walk and get off his back. He straight up got muscled by Kawajiri

  • sprackles

    love thomson and all the strikeforce guys…but this doesnt pan out out well for him, in all honesty.

  • james velasquez

    When Pettis trows that LEG KICK to the liver, i dont know how to defend that, and you have to be able to defend that cause 2 or 3 of that and you’re in BIG trouble. Maybe Thomson can hang with him on the feet, just maybe. But i dont see him taking this belt form Anthony, cause it seems like he’s reached another level of fighting.