UFC welterweight Stephen Thompson says he isn’t giving up hope of earning another title shot in the UFC following his defeat at UFC 264.
Thompson had hoped to jump a big step closer to a meeting with current champion Kamaru Usman with a victory at last month’s pay-per-view. But against Gilbert Burns, who is ranked second in the 170-pound division, “Wonderboy” was unable to keep the fight on the feet and fell to a unanimous decision defeat (29-28, 29-28, 29-28).
Prior to his loss to “Durinho,” Thompson had won back-to-back fights against Vicente Luque, who’s now staking his own claim for a championship opportunity, and Geoff Neal.
But while many have suggested his latest setback marks the end of his title chances in the UFC, Thompson sees things differently. The 38-year-old doesn’t believe the defeat changes his status as a welterweight contender.
While speaking with James Lynch, “Wonderboy” pointed out that he remains inside the division’s top-five and is the only top contender to have not fought “The Nigerian Nightmare.”
“No, not at all (giving up hope of fighting for the belt again). I mean, I’m still at the top right now, I’m still ranked No. 4, and I’m still the only guy at the top of the division at the moment that hasn’t fought Kamaru Usman.” (h/t BJPenn.com)
On the topic of the dominant 170-pound champ, Thompson added that a matchup with Usman would see more excitement than his recent loss to Burns, which Dana White said left a lot to be desired.
“I still feel like I hold a threat. I feel like Kamaru’s not just the type of guy who will hold me there. He’s going to look and try to finish the fight and that makes for a much more exciting fight and I know that’s what the fans want to see. I know that Kamaru wants to fight the best guys in the world, and I’m the only guy at the top right now that hasn’t fought him.”
Having failed to capture UFC gold on two occasions against former champion Tyron Woodley, Thompson remains in the hunt for one final chance at reaching the mountaintop in MMA’s biggest promotion.
Do you think Stephen Thompson can earn another title shot in the UFC?