Stephen Thompson will get his wish of facing a top-5 opponent when he takes on the #2-ranked Gilbert “Durinho” Burns.
Ever since Stephen Thompson defeated Geoff Neal last December, he began lobbying hard for an opponent ranked in the top-5 of the welterweight division. He was even reduced to hoping someone injured themselves or had to pull out of a fight for any reason so that he could step in and face someone with such a ranking. Fortunately, no calamity had to take place for Thompson to get his wish, as ESPN has reported that Thompson and Gilbert Burns have agreed to fight one another at UFC 264, which is expected to be headlined by Dustin Poirier and Conor McGregor.
Stephen Thompson is a former title contender who is currently ranked #5 in the welterweight division. Thompson was beginning to fade out of the contender picture a couple years ago, but with back-to-back wins over Vicente Luque and Geoff Neal, two dangerous and ranked welterweights, he is one big win away from being right in the center of the title conversation. And it doesn’t come much bigger than a victory over the man who just challenged for the title, Gilbert Burns.
Gilbert Burns is coming fresh off a loss against welterweight champion Kamaru Usman at UFC 258. Burns had his moments early on in the fight with some heavy blows that nearly (but not officially) dropped the champion, and it looked for a minute he might be the first man in the UFC to sleep “The Nigerian Nightmare.” Burns admits to getting overzealous while Usman remained composed enough to ultimately run away with the fight. Burns made it clear that he was going to do whatever it took to make it back to Usman, though, and that starts with solving the puzzle of Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson.
With the addition of this bout, the current UFC 264 lineup is as follows:
Dustin Poirier vs. Conor McGregor
Gilbert Burns vs. Stephen Thompson
Jessica Eye vs. Jennifer Maia
Who do you think will get the W? Gilbert Burns or Stephen Thompson?