Having initially targeted a bout with Robbie Lawler for the number 1 contender spot in the UFC‘s welterweight division, Stephen Thompson feels that Rafael dos Anjos’ win over Lawler has changed things up
For “Wonderboy”, the next shot at Tyron Woodley’s title is between himself and the Brazilian.
While Woodley is out of action due to shoulder surgery, Thompson believes that a bout against the in-form, former lightweight champion makes sense. dos Anjos has previously claimed that he will wait for Woodley’s return for a title shot but Thompson feels the 33-year-old has some more work to do before he can jump into the number 1 spot at 170 pounds he currently occupies.
Thompson had two unsuccessful shots at Woodley’s title in less than six months and this may evidently work against him as it stands:
“After my last fight with Woodley, I ended up hurting my knee so I was out for almost six months,” Thompson told MMAFighting. “I ended up hurting my thumbs in my last fight. I’m trying not to stay out for too long,” said Thompson. “I know if I wait on that fight, it could be almost a year depending on the recovery of Tyron. So I wouldn’t want to wait that long, if possible. I know (dos Anjos is) wanting to wait for that Tyron fight.
“I’m still ranked No. 1, he’s No. 2 right now, so I think it would be an awesome fight. I know there are people out there saying they don’t want to see Thompson-Woodley 3. Of course, the last fight with Tyron wasn’t too exciting, but the one before that I thought it was pretty intense and very exciting, we got Fight of the Night, I remember that. I’m just trying not to wait out too long. My goal is RDA and hopefully we’ll get that, somebody in the top-5 would be legit, but I want to hold on to that No. 1 spot. The guy that’s ranked No. 2 is wanting that title shot, for me coming up in the ranks I had to beat the No. 1 in order to get that title shot, which was Rory MacDonald at the time.”
In order to solidify his claim as the number 1 contender in the UFC’s welterweight division, Thompson has claimed that he is willing to fight dos Anjos in Brazil:
“I wanted Robbie Lawler, we were both kind of going back and forth for that No. 1 spot, like he was No. 1, we both were No. 1, then I was No. 1,” said Thompson. “If he would have won that fight with RDA, I think he would have jumped back up to No. 1, so I wanted that fight to begin with just to solidify that I’m No. 1 because we were going back and forth. RDA ended up pulling out the win and if I’m not getting Robbie, why not get the guy that beat him?
“And I know Darren Till has called me out, but I remember coming up in this welterweight division and I went through a murderer’s row to get where I’m at. You had Darren Till beat Donald Cerrone, who his last two fights before him he got knocked out by Masvidal and lost to Robbie Lawler. He beats one guy and now he’s ready to fight the No. 1 guy? It kind of doesn’t make sense to me. I went back and fought the No. 4 guy, they want me to go back even farther and fight the No. 7 or No. 8, I don’t know what he’s ranked right now. Especially in London, in his hometown. It just doesn’t make sense for me in my career, so I’m sticking to my guns and hopefully we can get that RDA fight if we can. That’s the plan.”