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Stephen Thompson: People want to see me in an exciting fight with Robbie Lawler, not Tyron Woodley

Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports

Stephen Thompson gave new meaning to his "Wonderboy" nickname when he became the first mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter to finish former UFC welterweight champion Johny Hendricks in the UFC Fight Night 82 main event last Saturday night (Feb. 6, 2016) in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The win -- his sixth straight -- put him over the top in the official rankings, where he now sits comfortably in the No. 3 spot. Thompson, however, is still behind Tyron Woodley, a man who was supposed to face "Bigg Rigg," until the latter fell ill following a crippling weight cut last October.

"The Chosen One," who maintains he is next in line for a shot at champion Robbie Lawler, is not afraid to put an up-and-comer in his place and he doesn't feel Thompson's success warrants a crack at gold, but he better be prepared for a strong counter-argument from the kickboxing import.

From his conversation with MMA Junkie radio:

"You know, my hat's off to Tyron and it's disappointing that Hendricks didn't make weight when they were supposed to fight and he was promised the next title fight. But I did fight the former welterweight champion and did beat him in the first round. That's someone who has never been finished. I think I'm just more of an exciting fighter than Tyron Woodley. I think me and Robbie Lawler would put on a better show. I think more people would be more apt to tune into it as well."


Thompson may have a point. The South Carolinian has accumulated four "Performance of the Night" bonuses during his UFC tenure, while "T-Wood" has tallied two.

Woodley is known for his devastating power just as much as he's known for putting up clunkers, like his underwhelming effort against former title challenger Rory MacDonald in June 2014. The All-American wrestler is 5-2 in UFC and hasn't competed since he took a split decision from Kelvin Gastelum at UFC 183.

Despite the inactivity, his finishing rate is quite high -- four in his last five wins -- but Thompson holds his own in that category as well, having totaled five in seven of his ZUFFA victories.

As for Lawler, he turned back former interim champion Carlos Condit in last month's action-packed UFC 195 main event.

If you were playing matchmaker, who would you like to see installed as the next 170-pound title challenger?

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