Stephen Thompson is leaning towards Jorge Masvidal over Kamaru Usman.
Masvidal challenges Usman for the welterweight title in a rematch that will headline the upcoming UFC 261 pay-per-view event which takes place April 24 in Jacksonville, Florida.
Their first meeting was notably on six days’ notice with Masvidal losing an uneventful unanimous decision to Usman. Although Masvidal has since claimed he would win with a full camp, many believe he was training all along and that a rematch would go the same way.
Not Thompson, however, as he expects his former opponent to put up a better fight and even come away with the victory.
“If you go back and watch the last fight that these guys had, Jorge Masvidal was doing fairly well stuffing the takedowns, keeping the fight standing, until he started to get tired late fourth and fifth round he started to get taken down,” Thompson told Submission Radio. “So, I think with a full training camp, I do believe that Jorge Masvidal will put up a harder and better fight.
“I’m leaning a little towards Jorge Masvidal for this one.”
Thompson: Masvidal Has Unpredictability
Although Thompson is a little biased as he holds a win over Masvidal, he believes “Gamebred” has the capability to pull off some crazy stuff.
Not to mention the fact that he’s already gone 25 minutes with Usman.
“I think it’s just because I really want to see him win the fight. And, you know, I’m kinda biased a little bit, obviously,” Thompson added. “I kinda gave you my thoughts on that. But I do believe that it can go either way. Like, before, I had Usman winning. Like, he was definitely gonna win. What was it, a two-week training camp, or short notice for Jorge Masvidal? So, I knew Usman had it, cause that guy is always in shape man. But now that he’s got a training camp, and on top of that, he’s faced him before, so he knows what he’s gonna bring to the table. I don’t know, man, it’s hard to kind of put him out. Like, he does some crazy stuff. Like, everybody knew that Ben Askren was gonna beat him, right? And then you saw what he did in the first round. I mean, he pulls stuff out like that out of his hat on the reg, and you don’t know what’s gonna happen, and it’s scary facing a guy like that.”
“I think it’s great for Jorge Masvidal, because he’s faced the guy, he knows he’s gonna do if he goes out there with the same game plan. And you don’t really see, I mean, I think that’s what you expect from this guy. He’s gonna wanna get him to the ground. You don’t see a tremendous amount of improvements from Usman. I know his striking has improved. But you don’t see anything crazy. He doesn’t do anything that surprises you, like spin kicks, or doing anything wow like flying knees like Jorge Masvidal brings to the game. Like, you gotta worry about that. Like, what Jorge Masvidal’s gonna’s bring to this fight.”
That said, an Usman win would be the best result for Thompson as it would erase any hopes of a trilogy and potentially get himself the next title shot.