The last month has been a roller coaster ride for UFC lightweight Anthony Pettis after losing out on a title-shot due to injury only to gain another, in his hometown no less, due to the misfortune of top contender T.J. Grant. With a bout against champion Benson Henderson set in stone barring another health-related setback, Pettis is still pinching himself based on the way things unfolded.
The 26-year old spoke to Bleacher Report about the strange journey he’d taken to the opportunity of his dreams, admitting he’ll have a hard time believing it’s real until he’s penned his name on a contract.
“I’m even thinking like ‘Damn, could TJ Grant be really hurt? Is this part of some bigger plan?’ It’s just crazy,” confessed Pettis of the situation. “The way it happened and the way it’s playing out. It’s one of those storybook fairytales. It wasn’t supposed to happen, but it worked out perfectly.”
“I was thinking…like TJ Grant can’t get hurt, this isn’t true. Two guys can’t get hurt in two divisions in back-to-back title-fights,” he continued, stating his head might hurt if devoting too much energy trying to figure out fate’s plan. “I don’t know, it just turned out in my favor. I don’t want to think about it more. This is the biggest fight of my life in my hometown. I just want that contract to come so I can sign it and it can be 100 percent.”
When it comes to his UFC 164 bout with “Bendo”, Pettis doesn’t necessarily think Henderson has established himself as a dominant champion but understands he holds gold nonetheless.
“There’s an argument he may not be the top 155’er, but he has the belt, that’s all there is to it,” said Pettis point-blankly. “He has the belt. Whether he’s winning by decision or he’s blowing guys out, he has the belt, and that’s what I want. I’ve been waiting for this for two years, and it’s finally here.”
UFC 164 is set to unfold in Milwaukee on August 31. Pettis-Henderson have fought once before, going to decision in a 2010 tilt seeing “Showtime” emerge with his hand raised.