Anthony Pettis went home on Saturday night as the new UFC lightweight champion.
He'll be strutting with his head held high, but limping a bit on his way.
Pettis will be in celebration mode after finally capturing the elusive UFC belt he's been hunting for nearly three years, but he will have to head to the doctor's office in the coming days to check on an injured knee he suffered in the fight with Benson Henderson at UFC 164.
The entire fight lasted less than one round so it never showed in Pettis' performance that he was favoring a knee injury, but he says it happened after he tried to check a kick from Henderson and didn't get his leg in the right position in time.
As soon as the kick landed and Pettis put his leg back to the ground, he knew something was off.
"I'm not sure yet. Henderson threw a kick and I went to check with my left leg and he hit right in the crook of the knee so it was like I felt it go back and forth," Pettis said at the UFC 164 post fight press conference. "I don't know what happened yet."
Pettis actually suffered a knee injury a few weeks out from his scheduled bout at UFC 163.
He was supposed to drop to featherweight and take on champion Jose Aldo. At that time, Pettis suffered a partial tear in his LCL (lateral collateral ligament), but it was actually his other knee that ended up injured on Saturday night.
"Left knee," Pettis said. "Opposite of the injury, it wasn't the injury that I had with (Jose) Aldo, that was the right LCL, this is the left knee."
Pettis will head to the doctor in the next few days to have his knee checked out to see how severe the injury is and how long it will be before he can return to action.
Meanwhile, former champion Benson Henderson also fell prey to the injury bug as part of the finishing maneuver applied by Pettis to win the fight.
Pettis locked up a strong armbar from the bottom, kicking out his hips and applying pressure to Henderson's elbow. There was a loud pop from the arm, and immediately after that Henderson verbally submitted to the hold, which stopped the fight and gave Pettis the victory.
Henderson arrived at the press conference with his right arm tucked inside his shirt, and was in noticeable pain, although he didn't know the extent of his injury at the time either.
"I have no idea," Henderson said about what was wrong with his injured arm. "I just wish I took something besides ibuprofen. Something a little bit stronger. I have no idea, we'll see."
The sting of defeat will not soften the injury at all for Henderson as he heads home to Arizona for the first time in over a year without the UFC lightweight title around his waist. Like Pettis, he will head to the doctor in the next week to get his arm checked out and find out exactly what happened as a result of the armbar submission.
Damon Martin is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report and all quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted.
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