UFC

New champ Pettis sidelined 7-8 weeks

New UFC lightweight champ, Anthony "Showtime" Pettis
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Mike Chiappetta

Mike Chiappetta has documented the fast-growing sport of mixed martial arts since 2006 for news organizations including SB Nation, NBCSports.com, FIGHT! Magazine, AOL and ESPN. He appears regularly as an analyst on countless television shows and radio programs, including CBS Radio and MMA Beat. Follow him on Twitter.

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On Tuesday, the UFC learned more about the injury that has afflicted newly minted UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis, and the news is far from the worst-case scenario many feared. Pettis has a grade II sprain of his PCL and LCL, UFC president Dana White confirmed during a Tuesday interview on ESPN’s SportsCenter.

"Newly crowned UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis has been diagnosed with a sprained right knee, following an MRI the fighter underwent on Tuesday," UFC president Dana White said.

"The injury will require seven to eight weeks of rehabilitation. In the meantime, Pettis can already start thinking of his next challenge -- a title defense against No. 1 contender, T.J. Grant."

KNOCK EM' OUT

Check out this knockout combination of photos from UFC 164: Henderson vs. Pettis.

Pettis will need to rest and rehabilitate his knee over the next seven weeks, and if all goes well, he’ll defend the title against Grant, perhaps as early as December although the date remains to be determined.

Grant (21-5) is undefeated in five lightweight bouts and was Benson Henderson’s originally scheduled opponent at last weekend’s UFC 164, but was forced to withdraw after suffering a concussion in training. In his place, Pettis stepped in and defeated Henderson via first-round armbar submission.

Pettis said he hurt his knee while checking a Henderson leg kick, and that he felt it locking up as the fight went on.

Meanwhile, a proposed superfight with featherweight champion Jose Aldo could still happen, White said, if Pettis successfully defends against Grant. Pettis and Aldo were at one time scheduled to meet in Brazil until an injury sent Pettis packing and he eventually landed in the title bout in his hometown of Milwaukee.

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