- Stephen Thompson sees himself taking on Leon Edwards or Jorge Masvidal in a striking war
- “Wonderboy” said UFC is considering “Gamebred” as title contender replacement for Kamaru Usman
- The biggest “drama” of Stephen Thompson’s career started with his statement that Kamaru Usman is probably out of a trilogy.
After getting back to the win column earlier this month with a victory over Kevin Holland, Stephen Thompson wants to ensure he’s next fight will be a stand-up war against either the champion Leon Edwards or his old foe Jorge Masvidal. “Wonderboy” said Kamaru Usman is the UFC’s favorite for “Rocky” but a surgery could keep him out and make way for “Gambred.”
“My friends, my bad! I meant to say I wouldn’t be surprised if they made the Leon vs Masvidal fight 😂 I have no idea what the UFC is planning to do. As of now it’s still Leon vs Usman. #MyBad 🤦♂️ #Oops”
My friends, my bad! I meant to say I wouldn’t be surprised if they made the Leon vs Masvidal fight 😂 I have no idea what the UFC is planning to do. As of now it’s still Leon vs Usman. #MyBad 🤦♂️ #Oops https://t.co/ACW3WO7cOe
— “Wonderboy” Thompson (@WonderboyMMA) December 13, 2022
Usman’s manager Ali Abdelaziz dismissed initial rumors that ‘The Nigerian Nightmare’ would not fight in the Edwards trilogy as “fake news”.
Fake news https://t.co/AbJ5UrPxez
— Ali Abdelaziz (@AliAbdelaziz00) December 12, 2022
It has got to be a stand-up fight
Speaking on the Fred Talks Fighting podcast, Thompson said most of the top guys are “heavy wrestlers” and but he knows people want to see him engage in “a stand-up fight” next. This led him to trimming his options to either Masvidal or Edwards.
Usman has already expressed his desire to have a trilogy fight with the reigning champion Leon Edwards, but “Wonderboy” said “The Nigerian Nightmare” will be out of the picture for a “hand injury.” Edwards seems keen to defend his title sooner rather than later and Thompson said the UFC eyes Masvidal as replacement. This motivates him more as both “Gamebred” and “Rocky” are known strikers.
“I’m still going for the title,” Thompson declared. “I know the guys ranked above me right now are some heavy wrestlers but everybody wants to see me fight a stand-up fight. Which, I don’t mind at all. Any of those guys, Jorge Masvidal, Michel Pereira.”
“People are in-talks of me fighting Leon Edwards. I know Kamaru Usman is having hand surgery, I know they want to fight somebody in March and they were looking at Jorge Masvidal,” he continued. “He’s a standup fighter, so it kind of inspires me a bit, our division is so wrestler-heavy, and Leon Edwards is a striker and he’s champ. So, anyone of those guys would be awesome.”
It’s hard to predict but Gamebred is winning the race
Looking at the current welterweight division, it’s hard to predict who the UFC sees as the rightful next title contender. However, Edwards evidently wants revenge on Masvidal and Usman’s status due to hand injury remains unclear. If Thompson is telling the truth then the UFC could be looking at “Gambred” as the next title contender.
Colby Covington has been quiet lately, while Khamzat Chimaev has remained hot but he’s weight issues could be a problem. Belal Muhammad presents a strong case for a shot at “Rocky” but it seems as if he lacks the charisma to be the other half of a title fight.