If the recent shake ups at the UFC’s welterweight branch mean improved paths for school-age contenders to return, count Stephen Thompson among the re born. After having a draw and a majority decision loss, “Wonderboy” didn’t have a clear path back to some title under tyronwoodley ’s principle. Yet today that Kamaru Usman is trotting with all the enviable accessory, and Colby Covington appears to be another in line to attempt to wrest it away, Thompson is well within his rights to fantasy again.
Thompson is returning for exactly what ’s being contemplated a “creative” main event after 10 weeks off, and knows that center stage these days means more than it’s used to.
“This ’s exactly what I’m hoping,” he told MMA Fighting this week. “Out of sight out of mind, I harbor ’t fought at 10 weeks and people forget about you. This ’s most area of this sport. My intention is to go out and placed to a fantastic show for the fans, and finally come out with the final, and let everyone understand — the fans, and the UFC — which I’m still here. ”
Thompson’s last struggle was a thing of wonder, atleast for a few. Till won a five-round unanimous choice, together with just two of those ringside arbiters scoring it 4 1 for Until.
Though he was a timeless sportsman in defeat, it was a difficult pill to swallow Thompson; and 10 weeks was years for this pill to sit down in his tummy.
“I’d think I won at the end, however you can’t sit there and dwell on the history, therefore that I moved on as a result,” Thompson says. “I decide to try prepare myself never to leave it at the estimate ’s eyes again. That’s something we’ve ever been working on in our camp, even being only a tad bit more competitive, but being smart with this — trying to push the actions a little more. This ’s something I’ve learned in the indefinitely fight along with the 2nd Tyron fight. I kind of put it behind me and learned out of this, nonetheless it’s rekindled a flame in me to be a fighter. ”
There are a wonderful many “exactly what should ’s” that have plagued Thompson’s livelihood during the previous few years, considering coming off a victory against Rory MacDonald to earn him a title taken 2016. Imagine when he’d pushed the actions at the Woodley re-match a little bit more? What if the Till struggle had gone his way? The simple truth is, Thompson has never been completely out classed, and he hasn’t been close to finished. In his last four fights that the 2 losses and the majority attraction — with a success within Jorge Masvidal sprinkled in — have all been coin-flip affairs.
“You really do sort of drama the ‘exactly what should ’ games — ‘exactly what should ’ I’d won the title, ‘exactly what should ’ I overcome he, where do I be today? You do play that ranking game a little bit, but if it boils down to it you’t must be real about it. I understand where I stand at the welterweight division. I’t been trying to have a struggle at the weeks I’ve ever been out, but it hasn’t worked out. Then this item falls in your lap a little bit. ”
Input this fight with Anthony Pettis, a former lightweight champion who has moonlighted as a featherweight. The struggle is publication in that Pettis is coming to struggle Thompson, that was simply at a No Man ’s property between gatekeeper and stay-busy competition. Pettis was the perfect struggle at the perfect time for Thompson, who had been trying — fruitlessly — for a struggle for months.
“show time ” Pettis was the solution because of his predicament. He’s a dynamic action-fighter that includes a name, a standing, and a fan-friendly approach for fighting.
“This ’s the first thing that I looked at when it was announced — that is going to be a ninja struggle,” Thompson says. “This is going to be to find out who is going to be the much superior vampire Saturday night. He’s been known to throw a few gaudy stuff, and that then I ’m known to throw a few showy stuff here and there also.
“However this ’s what that is — this is a fan’s fight, and also we wanted to achieve this to its fans. I believe it’so amazing. In order have the ability to settle back and observe that a few of the fighters may still make their struggles. This ’s how this struggle was made, it was on social media. He also phoned out me. He was seeking a struggle, I was searching for a struggle. He explained let’s make it happen, and the fans were about any of this. That excited me. ”
The previous time he’d was at his next UFC struggle Matt Brown at UFC 145 at Atlanta. That struggle wound up becoming the first loss on his own record, which — since Thompson has pointed out over time — became the catalyst for his subsequent seven-fight win streak.
“Many of my fights have been around in New York and Vegas, therefore it’s great to be this close to home,” he says. “I’t got a lot of relatives and buddies making their way down to Nashville to catch the struggle, and & ’s another reason it’s fueled me to train as hard as I can with this particular struggle. ”
In every of his weeks away out of competing, most things have happened. The UFC began its last-minute venture with ESPN, and the gravity of the way in which a fighter manages himself during fight week has brought on added import. Also it sounds his welterweight coworkers are leading the charge.
A couple of weeks ago at UFC 235 at vegas, newcomer Ben Askren fairly dominated the headlines resulting in his struggle Robbie Lawler. Colby Covington, that was not on the cardcrashed the party and lobbied for his own title taken among the faithful. Kamaru Usman made the most of his time by not only dominating tyronwoodley, he made the colours of this Nigerian flag run throughout the Octagon.
And at London last week, Jorge Masvidal ascended from OG status to cult icon after he silenced the O2 Stadium using a ridiculous knock out of Darren Until, subsequently followed that up with a “three bit with the pop ” against Leon Edwards back stage.
It’s wide-open playing field, and this weekend at Nashville is Wonderboy’s chance to reinsert himself in the thick of things.
“I love this, to be honest with you,” Thompson says. “for a time there it’d been stagnant. You had the entire Tyron Woodley/Colby Covington/Kamaru Usman debacle, and everyone was kind of on hold to find out what was about to happen, when these were going to be adjacent. Subsequently your title changed. Then you definitely have Masvidal knocking out Till, that we didn’t see coming a mile off. It’s being awakened, and I’m excited to get it.
“I’m grateful the welterweight branch ’s being spoken about in a beneficial way right now, with all the temptations and the entire trash talking component, the entire ‘three piece and pop ’ Masvidal gave Leon Edwards. This ’s being mentioned like crazy too. I’m so enthused regarding the welterweight branch right now, though it’s the toughest branch at the UFC, I believe. Golly. ”