Pettis to defend lightweight belt vs. Josh Thomson

Published on Tuesday, 9/17/13, at 12:19 a.m. Eastern.
Updated on Tuesday, 9/17/13, at 1:35 p.m. Eastern.

By Brian Edwards

UPDATE: Anthony Pettis will face Josh Thomson in his first title defense at UFC on Fox 9 in Sacramento on Dec. 14. There are no odds out yet. I expect Pettis to be heavily favored in the -280 range. 

According to statements from his twitter account Monday night, lightweight contender T.J. Grant will not face Anthony ‘Showtime’ Pettis for the 155-pound strap at UFC on Fox 9.

“I am still not yet 100% and 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. I’ll 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.”

Grant earned a title shot by knocking out Gray Maynard early in the first round of their No. 1 contender bout at UFC 160. However, he had to pull out of his title shot vs. Benson Henderson after sustaining a concussion in training.

Due to lingering effects from the concussion, Grant couldn’t commit to the fight with Pettis at this point.

In stunning news that came out last week, B.J. Penn will return to the Octagon to face Frankie Edgar for a third time. The shocker is that the fight will be held at 145 pounds.

Penn lost his lightweight belt to Edgar and also lost to him in the rematch. But since then, Penn has been fighting at 170 in the welterweight loop.

Why would Penn drop to 145? Can he make that sort of weight cut and still be effective on fight night? I posed those questions to Jason Floyd of The MMA Report.

“The main reason is the UFC wants Edgar at 145,” Floyd said. “B.J. usually walks around in the 160s. He clearly wasn’t a welterweight. But I think Edgar is even faster at 145 and his speed was too much for Penn in both fights at 155.”

Look for Edgar to be an enormous favorite. They will serve as coaches in the next season of The Ultimate Fighter.

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