Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) lightweight kingpin Anthony Pettis couldn't even have a few hours to enjoy his first-ever title defense, a sensational second-round submission win over Gilbert Melendez at the UFC 181 pay-per-view (PPV) event last Sat. night (Dec. 6, 2014) in Las Vegas, Nevada (highlights here).
But that's what happens when you bottleneck contenders with a 16-month layoff.
While Pettis was fielding questions at the UFC 181 post-fight press conference (watch the replay here), undefeated 155-pound contender Khabib Nurmagomedov crashed the party and started asking for what he believes is a long overdue crack at the crown.
"The Eagle" vents to MMA Junkie:
"The UFC needs to give me my title shot. Benson Henderson lost, Eddie Alvarez lost, Pettis beat Donald Cerrone, Pettis beat Melendez, (and) I beat my last (opponent), Rafael dos Anjos. I am No. 1 contender right now. My doctor said I can fight in April or May. Let's go. Anytime, anywhere in April, May or June."
Nurmagomedov (22-0) has been riding the pine after suffering a knee injury earlier this year, one severe enough to require surgery. During that time, he's been doing a lot to keep his name in the headlines, in hopes of getting a shot at "Showtime" in his spring return.
And that's just fine with Pettis.
"If they want it next, give him a shot, I'm ready," Pettis told reporters. "I'm injury-free; I feel good. You guys saw what I did to Gilbert Melendez. Let's do it."
Nurmagomedov wants it, Pettis is down for it, but will the promotion finally make it happen?
Time will tell.