Stephen Thompson Expects UFC 291 Backpay For Next Fight, Hopes For Title Shot After Shavkat Rakhmonov

Stephen Thompson believes he will get a bigger paycheck for his upcoming fight after UFC 291 controversy.

Stephen Thompson
Stephen Thompson (Left) and Shavkat Rakhmonov (Right)(Images via Instagram @WonderboyMMA and @ShavkatRakhmonov94)

Stephen Thompson claimed he’s getting backpay for his alleged number-one contender fight against Shavkat Rakhmonov. 

On July 29, Thompson was scheduled to fight Michel Pereira on the main card of UFC 291: Poirier vs. Gaethje 2. Unfortunately, Pereira missed the welterweight limit by three pounds, leading to the bout being canceled after ‘Wonderboy’ turned down a change to catchweight. 

Over the next week, controversy arose as Dana White confirmed Thompson would not get paid his show money, which the number seven-ranked UFC welterweight felt he deserved. The MMA community was disappointed by the decision, but it turns out the UFC will take care of ‘Wonderboy.’

During an appearance on Won’t Back Down with Chris Weidman, Thompson had this to say about the UFC giving him backpay in his upcoming fight against Shavkat Rakhmonov: 

“I expected really not to get paid [for UFC 291], but, obviously, my manager and everybody was like, ‘Hey, you showed up. You should be getting something.” So, I’m like, yeah. So, the managers went and chased that. Here I am now. I haven’t seen any money yet…I think the deal is when I fight Shavkat [Rakhmonov], they’re going to add on what they owed me for the last fight.”

Stephen Thompson will fight number six-ranked Shavkat Rakhmonov on December 16 at UFC 296. It’ll be a tough test for the 40-year-old, as Rakhmonov holds a promotional record of 5-0, all wins inside the distance. With that said, the risk of fighting ‘Nomad’ could pay off significantly, according to ‘Wonderboy.’

Stephen Thompson thinks he could get title shot with win against Shavkat Rakhmonov

Earlier this year, Stephen Thompson was called out by number eleven-ranked Ian Garry. Although the matchup would be a fan-friendly striking battle, Thompson wants to challenge fighters above him in the rankings to pursue a final run at the welterweight title.

During the same appearance on Won’t Back Down with Chris Weidman, ‘Wonderboy’ had this to say about why he accepted the UFC 296 fight against Shavkat Rakhmonov: 

“Nobody wants to fight this guy. So, here I am. I’m like, you know, do I fight somebody ranked below me? Do I fight somebody ranked above me? Probably one of the toughest guys in the division who nobody wants to fight. I’ll fight Shavkat. Let’s do it.”

Thompson continued by making a bold claim about what could happen if he defeated Rakhmonov:

“Let’s make it happen because I believe I go out there and beat this guy. He should be fighting for the title after this fight with Colby [or] Leon. I think Shavkat’s got it. I think he’s got the title, he’s gonna be fighting for it. So, if I beat this guy, I’m looking at another title shot again.”

Stephen Thompson last fought in December 2022, defeating Kevin Holland with a fourth-round TKO to end his two-fight win streak. Meanwhile, Shavkat Rakhmonov is coming off a highlight-reel third-round submission win against Geoff Neal on March 4. 

It’ll be intriguing to see who takes another step toward a welterweight title shot by emerging victorious inside Madison Square Garden on December 16.

Watch the clip of Stephen Thompson talking about his upcoming fight below:

Published on September 26, 2023 at 4:32 am
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