The consensus is that Stephen Thompson needs to string a few wins together before he can challenge for the welterweight title again. But, the vaunted striker plans to punt that narrative at UFC 217, when he faces Jorge Masvidal.
Since Thompson is coming off a draw and a decision loss to the current champ, Tyron Woodley, there isn’t a lot of talk about “Wonderboy” locking up a title shot, Saturday. Not only that, but UFC boss man Dana White has already said that the winner of the December 16th scrap between Robbie Lawler and Rafael dos Anjos, will secure a championship bout.
But, as any big MMA fan will tell you, bouts that are labelled as title shot eliminators, don’t always end up that way. Thus, this could be why Thompson recently said this (quotes via MMA Junkie):
“I’m looking at this (like) if I go out there with a go win over Jorge Masvidal, it’s going to keep me in that running,” Thompson said. “I know Dana White said that the winner of Robbie Lawler and (Rafael dos Anjos) will get the next shot. But sometimes that doesn’t happen. And what he says doesn’t come to fruition.
“So my goal is to go out there and put on a show. I’m not giving up on that title, so hopefully that’s in the near future again.”
Now, while Woodley still holds the 170 belt, the chances of Thompson fighting for the title anytime soon are likely pretty small. But, you can understand why Thompson is taking this view. If he takes Masvidal out in emphatic fashion, and say, Woodley’s next opponent (whomever that is) gets injured, then you never know; Thompson could be in the mix. Or, what if Woodley loses his next bout? And Thompson has a nice win over Masvidal on his record? Then “Wonderboy” would be right there, as a title shot contender.
First things first, however, and that’s getting by the very tough and well rounded, Masvidal. While discussing Saturday’s match-up, Thompson noted that Masvidal “comes forward” and that’s he’s expecting “Gambred’s” going to be ready to “throw down”. Yup. That bout definitely has “Fight of the Night” possibilities written all over it.
UFC 217 will take place at Madison Square Garden in New York City.