Former two-time welterweight title challenger, Stephen Thompson has claimed with a victory against Shavkat Rakhmonov at UFC 296 later this month, he will stake his claim for a third championship challenge – with a particular eye set on the incumbent, Leon Edwards.
Thompson, the current number six ranked welterweight contender, has been sidelined since he took main event honors a year ago at UFC Orlando, landing an eventual fourth round corner stoppage TKO win over Riverside striker, Kevin Holland.
Twice failing in his bid to land the undisputed welterweight crown, Thompson fought to a majority decision draw with Tyron Woodley in the co-main event of UFC 205. At UFC 209 in March 2017 the following year, Thompson dropped a split decision loss to the St. Louis native, and has yet to earn a title fight since.
Stephen Thompson eyes Leon Edwards fight after UFC 296
However, sharing his thoughts on his upcoming return against the unbeaten star, Rakhmonov, Thompson revealed with a win over the Uzbekistan native at UFC 286, he will call for a title fight – and believes Edwards will stand across from him subsequently.
“The guy that I’m going to he calling out is whoever is champ,” Stephen Thompson told Submission Radio. “And I believe it’s going to be Leon (Edwards). So, it’s not for the title. I’m not going out there and calling out, ‘I want the next title shot.’ I want whoever’s champ. And as of right now, before that fight, it’s going to be Leon. So, I’m going to be calling out Leon. I’m going to let everybody know. UFC, I’m coming for Leon.”
“‘Cause that’s a fight that I thought was going to happen before he even got the title shot,” Stephen Thompson explained. “There’s a few times where I called him out, and he wasn’t obviously biting cause he was on a streak. But that’s something that I thought was going to happen before he was champ, and it never did. And now that he’s champ, dude, I think that would be a banger. I mean, he’s only been fighting grapplers here pretty much. He’s been fighting grapplers.”
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