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Stephen Thompson open to UFC 290 return in July, eyeing ‘Exciting’ fight with Michel Pereira next

Stephen Thompson Michel Pereira UFC 290
Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck - USA TODAY Sports & Zuffa LLC

Snapping his losing run in the main event of UFC Fight Night Orlando back in December of last year, two-time welterweight title challenger, Stephen Thompson has sights set on a return to the Octagon in the coming months – welcoming a fight with dynamic Brazilian striker, Michel Pereira.

Thompson, the current #7 ranked welterweight contender, managed to turn in an impressive eventual finish of Riverside striker, Kevin Holland in the main event of UFC Orlando last year – landing a fourth round corner stoppage TKO victory, Thompson earned a Fight of the Night bonus for his efforts in the ‘Sunshine State’.

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Prior to his victory over Holland, the SImponsville native had dropped consecutive unanimous decision losses to grappling standouts, Belal Muhammad, and one-time welterweight title challenger, Gilbert Burns.

Stephen Thompson eyes fight with Michel Pereira in UFC return

Recently seen pictured at the UFC Performance Institute in Las Vegas, Nevada – alongside former two-division champion, Conor McGregor – who is filming The Ultimate Fighter 31, Thompson revealed he is targeting a return to the Octagon, potentially at UFC 290 during International Fight Week. 

“Man, I’m looking at like May, June – maybe International Fight Week,” Stephen Thompson told Submission Radio during a recent interview. “Right now, like you said, I’m ranked number seven, he’s ranked higher than me. He’s looking for the title, and the title’s always at the top of my to-do list. After those two losses I had against Gilbert Burns and Belal Muhammad, you know, I just didn’t want a grappler at that moment. And, that’s predominantly what he likes to go for, is submissions.”

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“I’m actually looking towards Michel Pereira, which I think would be just an exciting fight,” Stephen Thompson explained. “You know, that’s kind of where my mind’s at right now. And after that, we’ll hopefully get somebody that’s ranked above me. After those two losses, I gotta earn my way back up to fight somebody that’s ranked above me, and I understand that. So, I thin somebody like Michel, put on another show, and we’ll look at somebody that’s ranked above me.” 

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In the midst of a five-fight winning streak, Pereira most recently landed a decision win over division staple, Santiago Ponzinibbio, following a run of successes over Andre Fialho, Niko Price, Khaos Williams, and Zelim Imadaev. 

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.