Two-time UFC welterweight title challenger, Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thomspon will be a year removed from his most recent Octagon appearance in two months time, following his UFC 244 shutout victory over the gritty, Vicente Luque at Madison Square Garden.
Whilst appearances since then have been non-existent – Thompson’s not entirely interested at the prospect of matching with streaking division contender, Leon ‘Rocky’ Edwards, in a pairing that has been suggested recently. Instead, the popular South Carolina native has thrown his name in the hat for a potential outing opposite the reportedly returning, Nick Diaz – like former foe, Darren Till, and the above noted, Edwards.
Speaking with Submission Radio recently, Thompson wasn’t keen on what would come as a potential title-eliminator with Edwards, but rather so a pairing with the elder Diaz, in a bout he’s labelled, “interesting“.
“Not really,” Thomspon told when asked if he would entertain the possibility of a pairing with Edwards. “If I were to be honest, if he ever comes back, Nick Diaz would be a really good fight, an interesting fight, for sure. I said something on Twitter the other day about, ‘I would welcome him back to the division, for sure. So at first I was like, and I still kind of am, I just don’t believe it. But I want to put my name out there if he was willing to come back.“
“I didn’t believe (Diaz was planning a return), but if he was planning on it, even if he’s thinking about it, I wanted to put my name out there,” Thompson told.”That’s a guy who has been in the game a long time, he’s a veteran, he’s fought some really good guys. I love the Diaz brothers. Their whole demeanour, their attitude, that’s just who they are. They’re not faking anything about it and you’ve got to respect that.“
Diaz’s manager, Kevin Mubenge revealed recently that the now 37-year-old completed a fourteen-week training program, which ended with a test weight cut to welterweight for the first time in four or so years. “100%” targeting an Octagon return in early 2021, Diaz has eyes set on the bigger fights in the welterweight division, and Thompson believes a big fight is something he can offer.
“I think it would be a great test for him,” Thompson explained. “I’m ranked number-six right now. Obviously, he’s trying to move up the rankings, if he beats somebody in the top-ten, maybe one or two more fights and he could be fighting for the title because he’s got a name. We’ve seen guys do that, guys who are popular in the division.” (H/T MMA Fighting)
Thompson suffered injuries to both his hands during his November unanimous decision win over Luque but fortunately didn’t require surgery afterwards. The decision win marked his return to winning ways following a shocking second-round buzzer-beating knockout defeat to Anthony ‘Showtime’ Pettis at UFC Fight Night Nashville.
A two-time title chaser, the karate practitioner fought to a majority draw opposite then gold holder, Tyron Woodley in the co-main event of UFC 205 in November 2016, before dropping an immediate rematch in close fashion – finding himself on the wrong side of a majority decision to the Missouri native the following March.