A recent vacation in Hawaii provided a brief distraction for welterweight Mike Pierce, but he wants to get back to work.

Pierce (16-5 MMA, 8-3 UFC), who fought five times in 13 months before a current dry spell of three months, has two opponents in mind for his return. They’re ambitious requests: Jake Ellenberger (29-6 MMA, 8-2 UFC) and Robbie Lawler (20-9 MMA, 5-3 UFC).

“There’s no animosity; I don’t hate their guts,” he today told MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio).

Previously, Pierce saw it as a public service to thump career heel Josh Koscheck, who quickly accepted his callout on MMAjunkie.com Radio. In a close fight, Koscheck emerged with a split-decision win.

Since then, Pierce has rallied with three straight victories. A fourth might put him on the cusp of title contention.

Both Ellenberger and Lawlor are riding high in the 170-pound division. Many thought Ellenberger’s recent knockout of Nate Marquardt put him just behind Johny Hendricks for a title shot. Lawlor’s knockout of Koscheck, meanwhile, firmly established him as a future contender.

Pierce, who beat Carlos Eduardo Rocha, Aaron Simpson and Seth Baczynski on his current streak, is trying to make the best move for his career.

“I just think they’re two guys that are really relevant that would make great matchups, and I’d love to get in there and beat them down,” he said.

Ellenberger did not respond to request for comment about a potential fight with Pierce, but Lawlor’s longtime manager, Monte Cox, texted that his client “will get a bigger name.”

That’s not great news for Pierce, whose octagon record stands at an impressive 8-3.

Still, he can ask. So far, his only setbacks have been against strong wrestlers such as Jon Fitch, Hendricks and Koscheck.

“I’ve been doing this for a while,” Pierce said. “I want [to be in title contention] sooner than later. I haven’t felt old yet, so I think that’s a good thing. I haven’t taken a lot of damage in any fight, so I don’t have a lot of wear and tear like guys who get into these absolute wars. Thus far, I’ve been pretty fortunate to have a workout routine that doesn’t beat me down. I think I’ll be around for a while.”

For more on the UFC’s upcoming schedule, stay tuned to the UFC Rumors section of the site.

MMAjunkie.com Radio broadcasts Monday-Friday at noon ET (9 a.m. PT) live from Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino’s Race & Sports Book. The show is hosted by “Gorgeous” George Garcia, MMAjunkie.com lead staff reporter John Morgan and producer Brian “Goze” Garcia. For more information or to download past episodes, go to www.mmajunkie.com/radio.

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