On December 3rd, Stephen Thompson returns to the bright lights of the main event when he squares off with Kevin Holland in a highly-anticipated welterweight showdown.
‘Wonderboy has had a run of bad luck recently, dropping back-to-back fights against Gilbert Burns and Belal Muhammad. Despite losing four of his last six, Thomspon still finds himself clinging to the No. 7 spot in the welterweight rankings thanks to wins against Vicente Luque and Geoff Neal. Facing an unranked opponent in fan-favorite Kevin Holland, Thompson risks being pushed out of the top ten entirely should he suffer his third-straight loss.
Speaking with Mike Owens in a Middle Easy exclusive interview, Stephen Thompson discussed his upcoming bout with Kevin Holland and the challenges he faces against one of the UFC’s most popular fighters.
“Kevin’s the type of guy, type of fighter that gets better every time he fights. He did very well in the 185-pound division. Knocked out Jacre Sousa from his back, which is unheard of and he’s got great jiu-jitsu. He’s actually a black belt under Travis Lutter and Travis Lutter is under my brother-in-law Carlos Machado, so we got a little lineage there, you know what I mean? Jiu-jitsu lineage there with Kevin Holland. So, I think it’s great, man. The Guys’ a superhero. He’s very tall. He’s got an 81-inch reach which is ridiculous. That’s gonna be fun to navigate throughout the fight, but I’m looking forward to it.”
— Marcel Dorff 🇳🇱🇮🇩 (@BigMarcel24) October 5, 2022
No. 7 Ranked Stephen Thompson Explains Decision to Face an Unranked Fighter
Asked as to why he is stepping into the Octagon with an unranked fighter while he himself is knocking on the door of a top-five ranking, Thomspon says that even though Holland doesn’t have a number next to his name, he is a name that fans recognize and tune in to see which is just as important.
“Kevin Holland has a name. He did very well, like I said, very well in the 185 division and if he’s not ranked in the 170 division, he will be very soon. He’s faced some really good guys in this division and he’s a very exciting fighter and a great stand-up fighter. It just makes sense because I know the UFC’s trying to push somebody like Kevin because he’s a character. Got a great personality. The guy’s a superhero. He’s like, saving lives and people from getting mugged. It’s crazy and I’ve always wanted to be a superhero so I’m jealous.”
Though Kevin Holland is not a big fan of the ‘superhero’ label he’s been given by fans, ‘Trailblazer’ has more than earned it with heroics over the last several months that include apprehending an alleged car thief, stopping a gunman at a Houston restaurant, and coming to the aid of a man trapped in an overturned 18-wheeler.
While Thomspon recognizes that the fight won’t do much in terms of moving him up in the rankings, he believes the two will put on a great fight for the fans after his last two performances were admittedly underwhelming.