Stephen Thompson eyes UFC title run, win over Leon Edwards: ‘I could be there too’

Stephen Thompson eyes title run win over UFC Leon Edwards

Veteran former welterweight title challenger, Stephen Thompson claims he has received inspiration from the championship reign of division gold holder, Leon Edwards – insisting he could eventually land a title himself.

Thompson, the current #7 ranked welterweight contender, is slated to make his Octagon return at UFC 290 in July during International Fight Week against dynamic Brazilian striker, Michel Pereira. 

Last time out, the Simpsonville striker headlined UFC Fight Night Orlando back in December of last year against recent winner, Kevin Holland – securing an eventual fourth round corner’s stoppage TKO win over the Riverside striker. 

The win propelled Thompson back to the winner’s enclosure, following back-to-back decision losses against both Gilbert Burns, and Belal Muhammad. 

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Stephen Thompson eyes one more UFC title run

Competing twice for undisputed welterweight gold in losing efforts against then-champion, Tyron Woodley back in 2016, and 2017, Thompson admitted Birmingham native, Edwards’ title victory has inspired him to make a run for the welterweight crown again.

“It actually gives me inspiration,” Stephen Thompson told MMA Junkie of Leon Edwards’ title success. “With Leon (Edwards) being predominantly a striker and being a champ right now. It’s awesome. His takedown defense is really good; his takedowns are good – but he’s predominantly known as a striker. It does give me inspiration knowing that he’s the champ, that I could be there too.” 

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“After those last two losses, I’m gonna have to do some work in order to get back to fighting to somebody higher than me,” Stephen Thompson explained. “I think a good win over Kevin (Holland) and a good win over Michel Pereira, the next fight after that I could definitely be fighting somebody in the top five. And that’s the goal, to go for that title run again, and I still feel I have the ability and youthfulness to do so.” (Transcribed by MMA News)

As for Edwards, the current undisputed welterweight champion has turned down the possibility of returning at a UFC London event in July, preferring the opportunity to sit out until an expected UFC 294 card in October on ‘Fight Island’ in Abu Dhabi, UAE.