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Bryan Caraway wants UFC title shot, not step backward against Cody Garbrandt

Thanks, but no thanks.

Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

Bryan Caraway picked up perhaps the biggest win of his mixed martial arts (MMA) career after defeating highly-touted bantamweight prospect, Aljamain Sterling, at UFC Fight Night 88 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

So, what's next for "Kid Lightning?"

It won't be a showdown against Cody Garbrandt at UFC 203 on Sept. 10, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio, as Caraway wasn't too keen on accepting "No Love's" call out earlier today on The MMA Hour.

That's because Caraway is holding out for a shot at the 135-pound strap and is uninterested in going backward in his career. After all, he's beaten a lot of the top-ranked fighters in his division and he's put in the time to warrant his chance at gold.

And he's got the numbers to prove it.

"I have to go back and talk to my managers. There could be interest in that fight, but I don't know if it's, I don't want to say politically or business-wise smart for myself. I'm not saying he is not extremely talented, but he wasn't even ranked in the top 15 in the world at all. Granted, he just had an amazing performance by knocking out a top, undefeated guy, but I feel like that would be going backwards from where I am trying to go. He just broke into the top 10 in the world, I'm assuming he's going to be breaking into the top 10. I beat an undefeated guy, and he was No. 4 in the world, he beat the No. 7. I feel like I want one of those top guys, I feel like I've earned to fight for the belt. I beat the No. 6 guy before that, I beat the No, 4 guy in this fight and I feel like I'm in the upper echelon of top five guys and I feel like Cody needs maybe one more top 10 win and then he will be there for top five guys."

With that being said, Caraway says it's about time he gets the respect he deserves and the big fights that come with it. And they don't get any bigger than a championship bout.

"I absolutely want a title shot next. I feel like I have earned that. I have been in the sport for a long time, I feel like I have put in my due. I'm beating top-level guys and I just beat the No. 4 ranked guy in the division.  The only guys ranked above him are Barao who is now at 145, Faber who is fighting for the title and Dillashaw. Those are the only guys ranked over Sterling. They have already all fought for the belt. I feel like they need some new blood up there, they need a new face, they need to give someone else a shot. I guarantee if Aljamain Sterling had beaten me, then they would say he definitely gets a shot. I beat the man, the top ranked guy and I believe I have earned that title shot. If not, then I want to fight someone else that is right there in the mix."

Of course, upon hearing the news, Garbrandt was less than thrilled with Bryan's comments:

If Bryan doesn't get a title shot next, he wants to face the winner of the upcoming bout between John Lineker and Michael McDonald, who are set to bang it out at UFC Fight Night 91 on July 13, 2016.

What say you, does Caraway have a strong enough case to warrant a shot at the division strap?