Stephen Thompson will face former UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis at UFC Nashville on March 23rd. This will certainly be an intense striking match-up between two of the sport’s best stand up artists. “Wonderboy” hasn’t fought since May, and was having a bit of a difficult time landing an opponent before signing on to fight Pettis.
Speaking to “The MMA Hour” recently, Thompson revealed several fights he tried to land before making his bout with Pettis official (via Bloody Elbow):
“I tried to get (Robbie) Lawler. I was pushing (for) Lawler really hard,” Thompson said. “I was pushing it, the UFC was saying that it may or may not happen, Lawler was saying it was going to happen, and I was in New York helping Chris Weidman get prepped for his fight against ‘Jacare’ Souza and then they announced that [Lawler] was fighting (Ben) Askren.
“So I’m like, alright. So I tried to fight RDA, he said he was having surgery; Leon Edwards, he said his sciatica was acting up; and then (Santiago) Ponzinibbio, he just said no. So it just wasn’t working out for me, so I was just willing to take anything, to be honest with you.
“Anthony Pettis has a name. At this point in time, I’ve been out for almost seven months, I had a knee injury after the (Darren) Till fight.”
Thompson will face Pettis, who hasn’t fought since October at UFC 229. Pettis faced Tony Ferguson in the co-main event, in what was a thriller of a 155-pound match-up. Unfortunately, Pettis suffered a broken hand during the fight and was unable to get off the stool after the second round. His corner called the fight off as a result of the injury.
Now, Pettis will get the opportunity to make a name for himself at 170 pounds, by facing a man who has already competed for the division’s title twice.
What do you think about Thompson attempting to fight “RDA”, Lawler, and more before being matched-up with Pettis?