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By: Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief
Anthony Pettis is still in the midst of rehab after undergoing shoulder surgery earlier this year, but he's nearing a return to training, and he's planning on being able to return by UFC 151 on September 1 in Las Vegas.
Pettis revealed his planned timetable in an interview with BJPenn.com, and he's still got just one name on his mind for his return fight.
"For me, I want to fight Nate Diaz!" Pettis stated unequivocally. "I mean I was promised a title shot a couple of times, they said it after my [Joe] Lauzon win, you know that I was probably next in line. Then all of sudden Diaz comes out and he has a good performance against Jim Miller and I am forgotten about. So I mean I want to fight the guy that beat [Donald] Cerrone and get the #1 contender spot. I’m looking for a title shot here in my next couple fights or you know one more win and then a title shot."
"I feel that I am still the #1 contender and Nate Diaz comes down in weight, beats Cerrone - and I mean Cerrone was on a bit of a tear but it wasn’t like he was beating top 10 guys. Then Diaz beats Jim Miller, who got that fight for beating Melvin Guillard, and I beat Joe Lauzon who also beat Melvin Guillard so I think we are both right there. That’s why I want to clear things up and show everybody that I am the real #1 contender, so I want to fight Nate Diaz!"
The UFC told Diaz he'll get the next shot after Ben Henderson and Frankie Edgar rematch this August, and he's said he's content with waiting it out. However, if the UFC decides to give Pettis what he wants, there will be a major fight in the lightweight division on September 1.
Penick's Analysis: A Pettis-Diaz fight would be an incredible bout, but Pettis isn't likely to get his wish on this one. There is something to be said for keeping them separated for now and having each of them get a shot at the Lightweight Title, but it is disappointing for Pettis to be stuck and passed over. For now, he's just got to stay busy, win fights, and keep himself on track to get his shot, and he'll be there sooner than later.
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Jamie Penick, editor-in-chief
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