With all the drama surrounding Anthony Pettis ahead of his title shot against Benson Henderson at UFC 164 in August, his injured knee -- the one that kept him fighting Jose Aldo four weeks earlier, and ultimately served as the reason he ended up fighting Henderson -- was sort of lost in the shuffle.
Turns out the small tear in his meniscus was the least of his worries, anyway.
The newly crowned 155-pound champion Pettis, who appeared on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani, revealed that he fought Henderson while nursing a separated shoulder.
"You know what, my knee was fine, but I actually separated my shoulder two weeks before the [Henderson] fight," Pettis said. "So, going into the fight I had a separated right shoulder. My jitz coach [Daniel Wanderley] rolled a little too hard and he slammed me on my shoulder, and I separated my shoulder two weeks before the fight.
"The last two weeks before the camp all I could do was roll really light. I couldn’t spar. For me it was just a mental thing. I’ve been through that before. It sucks that it happened two before the fight, but I wasn’t backing out of that one."
Pettis, who finished Henderson with a stunning (if unexpected) first round armbar, said he wasn’t in a lot of pain on fight night, yet the shoulder gave him problems leading up. For instance, he said he had trouble sleeping on his right side because he couldn’t get comfortable with the injury.
Asked if he ever considered pulling out of the fight, which was in his hometown of Milwaukee, Pettis said that never crossed his mind.
"No, not at all," he said. "I just told me coach I’m going to settle down the last two weeks. I mean, I had a super-long training camp. From February until August I was training and getting ready for title fights. So I was 100 percent ready, but things happen. Every fighter can tell you, you never go into a fight 100 percent healthy."
Pettis injured his other knee during the Henderson bout when he absorbed a low kick just below the left knee -- a shot he called a "pretty effective kick that I might have to add to my arsenal."
Similar to his right knee, the injury -- which is a type-two sprain of his PCL and LCL -- won’t require surgery, nor affect his Dec. 14 title defense against Josh Thomson at UFC on FOX 9 in Sacramento. Though he hasn’t been able to kick or wrestle yet, he says he’s been doing a lot of boxing with Duke Roufus and company.
"Hopefully, in two weeks I should be back and able to spar," he said. "As long as I keep my rehab on point, I should be fine."