Thompson’s title ambitions suffered a huge setback Saturday after his disappointing result in the co-main event of UFC 264 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The three-round slugfest saw “Wonderboy” unanimously outpointed 29-28 on the judges’ scorecard, ending his two-fight win-streak.
Despite having one of the best takedown defenses in the division, Thompson couldn’t prevent Burns from bringing the fight to the ground. The Brazilian landed takedowns in each round, before dominating from top position.
The highlight of the fight was probably the wild exchange at the end of round one. The duo ferociously punched each other in the face whilst resting against the cage – recalling images of the iconic fight between Don Frye and Yoshihiro Takayama at Pride FC.
Had he won, Thompson was expected to be in contention to face champion Kamaru Usman in his next fight, having also claimed victory over top-ten ranked Geoff Neal and Vicente Luque in his two previous outings. Now at 38-years-old, “Wonderboy’s” shot at the title may have passed him by, possibly for the last time.
Stephen Thompson Thanks His Fans, Vows To Return Better Than Ever
Despite the missed opportunity, Thompson is still upbeat. In a social media post that has since been removed, he thanked his fans for their support and promised to return to the octagon a better fighter.
“Welp… didn’t go the way I wanted it too but I’ll be back better than EVER next time y’all see me in the octagon! Thanks soo much @gilbert_burns for the opportunity Brotha!! Aaaand the face-punching had me dying 🤣 thanks to everyone for their love and support!! LETS GOOOOOO! #IllBeBack,” said Thompson on Instagram.
With Thompson now seemingly out of the welterweight title contention picture, it’s still unclear who’s next in line to face Kamaru Usman. Colby Covington is the front-runner after Dana White has consistently claimed as much. However, Leon Edwards is also in contention on the strength of his 9-fight undefeated streak.
What do you think? Can Stephen Thompson bounce back and make another run at the title?