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Upon return, Khabib Nurmagomedov wants to fight Anthony Pettis, Nate Diaz on 'same night'

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Anthony Pettis and Nate Diaz both came out on Twitter to bash Khabib Nurmagomedov when Nurmagomedov reinjured his knee two weeks ago and had to pull out of his fight with Donald Cerrone.

Nurmagomedov, one of the top contenders in the lightweight division, believes the two of them only call him out when he's unable to fight and, when he returns, Nurmagomedov wants a piece of them. Both of them. On the same card.

"I can fight these guys both same night," Nurmagomedov told Ariel Helwani on Monday's edition of The MMA Hour. "These guys are easy money for me."

Nurmagomedov (22-0) was supposed to meet Cerrone in a title eliminator at UFC 187 on May 23 in Las Vegas. But two weeks ago the Dagestan native tore his meniscus while training at American Kickboxing Academy. Nurmagomedov, 26, has already been out since April 2014 after having surgery to repair a torn ACL in the same knee.

The rising star said fans have been hard on him on social media since the injury, but he gets the reason why.

"Fans sometimes talk crazy, but it's OK," Nurmagomedov said. "I understand fans are a little bit upset, I'm upset too. I'm not happy. One year, I [don't] fight. This is not good news for me, not good news for fans. I understand this."

AKA head coach Javier Mendez has said that Nurmagomedov came to the gym a few months ago at only 90 percent and perhaps could have used a little more time to recover from surgery. "The Eagle" isn't sure if that's the case, but said he'll exercise more caution in the coming months.

"If you want to win, you need to go crazy," Nurmagomedov said. "MMA every day is a high level, you need to be training hard, to push yourself. MMA all the time has injuries. Next time, I think I train a little bit more smart.

"I think this is very good experience for me."

Nurmagomedov said he's hoping to be back fighting in September or October and he wants a title shot against Rafael dos Anjos upon his return. That is unless Cerrone beats John Makdessi at UFC 187. If that's the case, Nurmagomedov thinks Cerrone should get the shot -- and Nurmagomedov hopes to fight on the same card against both Pettis and Diaz.

But Nurmagomedov bets that Pettis and Diaz won't say anything about him once he's ready to get back in the Octagon.

"Before all the time, I ask UFC, 'Please give me Nate Diaz, please give me Anthony Pettis,'" Nurmagomedov said. "But all the time these guys scared and no give answer to UFC. These guys no want fight before with me. But now these guys talk sh*t, because I'm injured. Because I can't fight now."

Pettis and Diaz have both lost in the last few months to dos Anjos and didn't look good in those fights, according to Nurmagomedov. Meanwhile, Nurmagomedov owns a dominant unanimous decision win over dos Anjos in his last fight. The next step, he said, is stopping fights and not letting them go the distance.

"When I come back, I want to finish guys," Nurmagomedov said. "I feel how I was before, I feel how I am now. I'm more strong, I'm more hungry. Maybe one year [with] no fight for me it's good. We'll see when I come back to the cage. Maybe this is better for me. I don't know."

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