Stephen Thompson explains why, in his mind, former UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis called him out for a fight. Just last month, Pettis made the callout in a post on his Instagram account. This came after he was considering to make the move to welterweight from lightweight.
Back in August, it was reported that the Las Vegas-based promotion was targeting a fight between Thompson and Robbie Lawler in a welterweight bout on January 18, 2019, that was expected to be the first event under the UFC’s new TV deal with ESPN. However, that fight never got booked. Instead, Lawler is fighting Ben Askren at UFC 235.
The UFC would later confirm that this fight would take place at an upcoming Fight Night show. During a recent interview, Thompson gave his theory as to why this fight was booked.
“There’s a lot of guys right now who I’d like to fight but they have fights coming up. So it just wasn’t working out for me in the 170 [matchmaking] the past few months,” Thompson explained on The MMA Hour. “So I was keeping my fingers crossed, and next thing you know, Anthony Pettis is calling me out. So I was like, sure, let’s do it. And I think he thinks he’s got my number. I’ve fought Tyron (Woodley) twice. He’s got the same coach, Duke Roufus, and Roufus thinks he’s got my number, so I’m here to prove him wrong.”
“I’m more of a mover, I think,” Thompson said. “More of an angler. Whenever I fight, whenever you see me fight, I work a lot off of angles, using my kicks a lot. I think I throw more of a variety of kicks than Pettis does. This is not a fight that I’m going to take lightly. He does have great striking, he’s got a knockout reel, so I welcome him with open arms to 170.”
UFC on ESPN + 6 is set to take place on Saturday, March 23, 2019, at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee.