Stephen Thompson is booked to fight Jorge Masvidal next, but if “Wonderboy” scores a win, he’s hoping to lock up a bout with Robbie Lawler for an interim belt.
Thompson will face Masvidal at UFC 217, which will go down on November 4th at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The fight will mark the first time Thompson has fought since March, when he lost via decision to welterweight champ Tyron Woodley. That bout, of course, was a rematch from their November, 2016 encounter, which was declared a draw.
“I haven’t really talked to anybody about that with the UFC,” Thompson said, while discussing the title shot implications of his next bout. “The only thing that I know is that I’m facing off against Jorge Masvidal. But, what I believe I have to do come November 4th is – to be able to stay for that title contention, to be able to fight for the title – is put on a good show and put out a good W, an exciting W come November 4th against Jorge Masvidal.”
“We’ve been kind of going back and forth with me and Robbie Lawler. I was ranked number one, then he’s number one, then we’re both number one. So hopefully a good win over this… You know, I understand Tyron is out for a little while, so hopefully we’ll be able to fight against Robbie Lawler, maybe for an interim welterweight title against him for that belt. There’s also word RDA will want him to fight for the title too, so I really don’t know. I gotta go out there and face Jorge first and see what happens there before I can think about really what’s going on next. But it is in the back of mind.”
There’s no doubt that a ton of fans and then some, would love to see Thompson and Lawler throw down. It’s also true that Woodley’s dealing with a shoulder injury, and that he could be sidelined for a while.
But, would the UFC considering booking Thompson against Lawler for an interim belt? If he defeats Masvidal? One would think the chances of an interim belt being on the line aren’t very high. While Thompson’s bouts with Woodley were close, the UFC likely isn’t interested in having Thompson face Woodley for a third time just yet. After all, the Masvidal bout will be Thompson’s first, since he faced Woodley in consecutive fights.
Further, as Thompson mentioned, Rafael dos Anjos is in the mix, and if Colby Covington defeats Demian Maia on October 28th, he’ll also be knocking on the title shot door.