Former lightweight champion Benson Henderson suffered no structural damage to the right elbow that Anthony Pettis placed in an armbar during the first round of their title bout Aug. 31 at UFC 164 in Milwaukee.
Henderson received the diagnosis from Brian Shafer, a Phoenix-based elbow specialist who also serves as team physician for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
“My elbow isn’t going to be an issue,” Henderson said Friday. “Dr. Shafer said I can resume training immediately but to take it slow and steady for a couple of weeks and do my rehab work. Of course, I am anxious to get going full speed again, but I will be smart and patient about it as well.”
Henderson was seeking to successfully defend his lightweight title for a UFC-record fourth time; he shares the record of three with BJ Penn. But Henderson’s hopes of breaking the mark were dashed when Pettis locked him in an armbar at 4:31 of the opening round.
“I felt his arm snap,” Pettis said after defeating Henderson for the second time in a title bout. “And he said, ‘Tap, tap, tap.’”
In their first meeting, on Dec. 16, 2010, Pettis beat Henderson by unanimous decision to claim the WEC 155-pound championship.
Though Pettis lifted the UFC belt from Henderson with an impressive showing, he did not leave the Octagon unscathed -- suffering a sprained right knee. It is expected that Pettis’ injury will require seven to eight weeks of rehabilitation to heal completely.
Pettis is slated to make his first UFC lightweight title defense against top contender TJ Grant. A date for the fight has not yet been set.