Poor TJ Grant. Shortly after Ultimate Fighting Championship announced he would be in the next title match against newly minted champion Anthony Pettis, he was been pulled from the fight with an injury and replaced by Josh Thomson. Pettis vs Thomson is scheduled for the UFC on FOX Sports 9 event on December 14th, and no one knows when we will see the still-concussed Canadian next. Grant is in a strange spot. This is the second time the head injury has cost him a title shot. Though the circumstances are different, it reminds me of Eric Koch’s situation at featherweight – he was in a title match, it was cancelled, then someone else got the shot at the title, and he fought again and lost. Bye bye title shot. Grant is going to likely have to take a fight prior to fighting for the title to stay active and generate interest, but that presents the big risk and a loss would make the title shot even more elusive. In a world of high risk, high reward, Grant should be paired with former champion Benson Henderson next. With Pettis signed to fight Thomson, and a potential Jose Aldo showdown looming, it may be a long time before Grant sees a title shot and sitting and waiting for it is just a bad option. We are left with Thomson versus Pettis, in what has the makings of a spectacular fight. In a world of trash talkers and builders of false hype, Anthony Pettis deserves a lot of credit because he did exactly what he said he was going to do, and that is beat Benson Henderson for the UFC Lightweight Title. Pettis will come in as the favorite when the lines for this fight start to appear at the sportsbooks. Look for Thomson to keep the fight close. “The Punk” is coming off an impressive stoppage against recent title challenger Nate Diaz in his UFC return, and he brings with him a full resume of tough fights from his Strikeforce career. At 34 he is still in his prime, and he must be looking at this as a tremendous opportunity. When on his game, Thomson is one of the best lightweights in the world and he has the strong mind game to both withstand the pressure of a massive fight and be properly motivated. Thomson overall is an aggressive fighter with a wide skill-set who has never been submitted in a long career. He has a high energy level, and should be capable of matching whatever pace Pettis sets. Pettis is also a high energy explosion athlete who showed a solid mental side to his game handling the pressure of the title shot. He seems to enjoy the lights and pomp, and does not shy away from it. With Thomson bringing boatloads of charisma to the match as well, the hype for this fight could get to be a lot of fun. In the ring, Pettis will look to establish his diverse striking game. He will benefit from showing more aggression than he did against Henderson, who had him off balance and didn’t let him get off. Expect Thomson to bring the pressure and be in his face. Thomson will have a lot of value as an underdog bet, as the Lightweight division is stacked with talent at the top and may be entering a phase where the title does not stay around one waist for too long.