Monday, October 3, 2022

Wonderboy Categorically Rejects Shavkat Rakhmonov Bout

UFC welterweight contender Stephen Thompson has doubled down on his ‘no grappler’ stance when it comes to his next UFC opponent.

Thompson is looking to return triumphantly to the UFC after back-to-back losses to Belal Muhammad and Gilbert Burns. His last win came against Geoff Neal via a unanimous decision in Dec. 2020.

Thompson hasn’t fought in 2022 and is still awaiting his next Octagon assignment. He recently publically declined a matchup with Sean Brady on the grounds of Brady’s grappling-heavy style.

MMA journalist Ariel Helwani reported earlier this week that the UFC is looking at potentially offering Thompson a fight against the surging Shavkat Rakhmonov. Despite the reports, Thompson doesn’t have any interest in the fight if that’s what the promotion wants.

Stephen Thompson Turns Down Another Grappler

Thompson Frustrated
Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson

During a recent interview with BJPenn.com, Thompson explained why a matchup with Rakhmonov doesn’t make sense.

“Not at all. It doesn’t make sense for me to face another heavy grappler. Let me work on my craft a little more, especially when it comes to wrestling,” Thompson said. “They were pushing it, but it just doesn’t make sense, the fans didn’t want to see it either. They are like ‘dude, give Stephen a striker, someone who is going to strike with him.’ It is what it is, that is not a fight that interests me at this point.”

The 39-year-old Thompson wants to be matched up with an opponent who he can strike with. After a slew of potential opponents, including Kevin Holland, were recently booked, Thompson is running out of options for a welterweight return taking place before the end of the year.

Rakhmonov has surged into the welterweight rankings with 16 straight wins to begin his professional career. This includes recent UFC wins over Neil Magny and Carlston Harris.

Thompson is eager for one more potential title run before his career comes to a close, but it appears that the UFC will continue to have difficulties finding him the caliber of opponent that he wants.

Who do you want Stephen Thompson to fight next in his Octagon return?

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