UFCs Anthony Pettis wants a top five contender ... before the end of 2011

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Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) lightweight fighter Anthony Pettis recently got back into the win column with a solid victory over "Lil' Heathen" Jeremy Stephens at UFC 136 in Houston, Texas, on Sat., Oct. 8, 2011.

Eager to strike while the iron is hot, "Showtime" told Pro MMA Radio's Larry Pepe that he has no intention to sit around and wait very long for his next fight. In fact, the former World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) champion wants to get back into the Octagon as soon as possible.

His ideal plan goes a little something like this:

 "I'd love to get back in there by the end of the year. That'd be ideal. There's match ups going on right now and it doesn't seem too promising. But I'll be healthy and get ready and if anybody gets hurt or injured, I'll be ready."

Hmmmm ... Who should he fight next?

Rumors have recently swirled with "experts" speculating that the fight between Clay Guida vs. Ben Henderson at he winner of UFC on FOX 1 next month will very likely next take on reigning UFC Lightweight Champion Frankie Edgar.

Two very familiar foes for Pettis, who has danced with them both before.

On Dec. 16, 2010, Pettis and Henderson squared off at WEC 53 in Glendale, Arizona. The fight will forever go down in MMA history, largely because of a "Matrix-esque," running off the fence, jump kick by Pettis that set had the sports world's highlight reels ablaze.

MMA highlights don't make ESPN's "SportsCenter" often. That one did.

Interestingly enough, Pettis believes that he, himself, has motivated Henderson. The result? He believes it will be a win for "Bendo" over "The Carpenter" on Nov. 12, 2011, in Anaheim, California.

 "I think Ben Henderson's gonna walk away with the 'W.' I feel he's on a tear. I think I motivated him the way Guida motivated me. He's looks like he means business and he's wrestling and he's striking well. He did very well against Jim Miller and Miller was considered the number one contender not too long ago. I think Henderson pulls off a victory in that one and I think Clay, he's gonna have to try to strike with him. Henderson's wrestling is very good and I don't think he's gonna be able to hold him down."

If that were to occur, it certainly would shake things up a bit. It may be a tough sell to put Henderson in against Edgar for a title shot when Pettis, who beat Henderson in their last fight, is also waiting in the wings. 

Regardless, Pettis knows he ultimately has no control over who his opponent will be. He just wants to fight a top contender and get back into the mix.

"Man, anybody in the top five that will be get me one step closer (to a title shot), I'm interested in fighting. There are a lot of interesting match ups coming up and there were a lot of interesting match ups on the card I was on (UFC 136). I potentially could have my next opponent in there."

One of those potential opponents is Donald Cerrone, assuming he is able to notch a win over Denis Siver when the two face off at UFC 137 on Oct. 29 in Las Vegas, Nevada. 

Pettis said he'd be excited about a rodeo with "Cowboy." He even gave a prediction for if the fight were to go down:

"Yeah, it'd be very interesting. I think that'd be a good and very interesting match up. I'm gonna have to go with Cerrone in that fight (versus Siver). I think Cerrone has a little bit more overall skill than Siver does. That'd be a very interesting match up that could have happened a lot of times already. That'd be a banger man. Cerrone always brings it. He has very good striking and a good ground game. I don't think either of us would be trying to shoot too hard. It'd be a good stand up war."

So who do you Maniacs want to see Pettis face next? Does he deserve a top five guy? Gray Maynard looks to be available and has had some things to say about Pettis in the past.

Interested in that match up? Any others?

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