Josh Thomson is back in the UFC, and he's on the quest for a title shot.
After nine years of competing outside the Octagon, "The Punk" made a triumphant return to the sport's biggest stage at UFC on Fox 7 in April. The AKA staple scored a second-round knockout over former title challenger Nate Diaz in San Jose, and the victory immediately launched the former Strikeforce champion into the upper tier of the ultra-competitive lightweight division.
Nevertheless, at the current time, the 155-pound weight class is going through a bit of a chaotic period. Outside of the upcoming title tilt between champion Benson Henderson and T.J. Grant, the road to contention is wide open for the taking, and Thomson is looking to get on the fastest track possible.
On Wednesday afternoon in Las Vegas at UFC's Community Day event, the 34-year-old Californian made it absolutely clear who he wants to fight next.
"I've asked the UFC for the quickest possible path to the title," Thomson told Bleacher Report. "I beat Nate [Diaz] and now the only logical fight would be Anthony Pettis. He made the drop to 145 and now he's apparently injured. I won't be ready until late September or early October. Benson and T.J. fight in August. The timelines add up, and it just makes for a great fight.
"The way I see, Pettis passed on the chance to fight for the lightweight title to take a shot at featherweight. That didn't happen, and now he has to get in line. I'm standing between him and the title shot, and there is nobody else. I'm right here waiting for him. I think it's time the UFC steps up and tells Pettis if he wants to fight for that title, he needs to go through Josh Thomson.
"I'm standing here in Las Vegas right now for the Fan Expo and I'm saying one thing," Thomson added. "'Pettis...let's fight, man."
Duane Finley is a featured contributor to Bleacher Report. All quotes are obtained firsthand unless noted otherwise.