Exclusive – Stephen Thompson touts Shavkat Rakhmonov as future UFC champion: ‘I think he’s got it, for sure’

Stephen Thompson
Mandatory Credit: Jeff Bottari - Zuffa LLC

Linked with a future welterweight outing against undefeated finisher and division riser, Shavkat Rakhmonov, former two-time title challenger, Stephen Thompson has touted the Uzbekistan-born contender as a future champion in the promotion.

Thompson, who attempts to snap a run of two consecutive losses against both Gilbert Burns, and the streaking, Belal Muhammad in his next Octagon walk – is without a victory since a short-notice December 2019 headliner against Geoff Neal, securing a unanimous decision win.

As for Rakhmonov, the undefeated #11 ranked welterweight contender turned in his fourth Octagon victory back in June, defeating Neil Magny with a completely one-sided second round guillotine choke win. The win came as Rakhmonov’s fourth in the promotion, sixteenth consecutively as a professional, as he also retained a perfect 100 percent finish rate to boot.

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Stephen Thompson has been linked with a matchup against Shavkat Rakhmonov next

Tipped to potentially share the Octagon with veteran Simpsonville striker, Thompson in the near future as he looks to crack the welterweight top-10, Rakhmonov has been tipped by his potential future opponent as the best prospect at 170lbs at the moment – when compared with the surging, Khamzat Chimaev, and Philadelphia grappling ace, Sean Brady.

“Out of all three of those guys, I would it would be Shavkat (Rakhmonov),” Stephen Thompson told LowKick MMA reporter, Mike Owens. “I mean, he’s undefeated, he’s got great striking – we saw, Gilbert Burns kinda made Khamzat (Chimaev) look mortal, you know. He’s taken some shots, he’s took some shots from Gilbert. Gilbert almost had him finished. But Shavkat, man, his striking is very good, his Jiu-Jitsu is very good.” 

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“He controlled Neil Magny in that last fight, for literally nine and a half minutes of the fight, before he finished him,” Stephen Thompson said. “So I think he’s got it, for sure. …Shavkat, I think his strikings good enough, I think his wrestlings good enough, and I think his Jiu-Jitsu is good enough to be champ.”

Prior to his June submission win, Rakhmonov, a former M-1 Global welterweight champion, holds eight submission wins to go with eight knockout triumphs – landed Octagon victories over Carlston Harris, Michel Prazeres, and Alex Oliveira. 

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Aspiring mixed martial arts reporter based in Ireland. Follow along at @Ross_Markey on Twitter for all the latest news, fight announcements, opinion, and feature pieces.