Longtime UFC welterweight contender Stephen Thompson is scheduled to return against fellow 170-pound title hopeful Gilbert Burns in the UFC 264 pay-per-view (PPV) co-main event this Sat. night (July 10, 2021) inside T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
A victory over No. 3-ranked “Durinho” would put the former kickboxing phenom — currently seated at No. 4 in the welterweight division — on a very short list of eligible title contenders, which also includes Colby Covington (No. 1) and Leon Edwards (No. 3).
And that’s bad news for No. 6-ranked Michael Chiesa.
“I’m the guy that hasn’t faced him yet,” Thompson told MMA Fighting. “It feels like everyone in the top-10 has already fought him at some point in time. Leon Edwards has fought him in the past. Gilbert Burns has fought him. Colby Covington has fought him. He just knocked out Jorge Masvidal. Like who else is this guy going to fight? And then I think it was not too long ago he was talking about fighting Michael Chiesa and it’s like why wouldn’t it have been me? I think I’m a terrible matchup for him. I feel like that I’m the last man standing right now. A good win over Gilbert Burns, he’s going to have to face me.”
Dana White appears to have other plans.
Thompson, 38, improved to 16-4-1 by scoring back-to-back wins over Vicente Luque and Geoff Neal and “Wonderboy” is hoping that his style of combat is enough to compel matchmakers to give him the nod over Covington and Edwards.
“I love to break guys down, especially guys like Burns and Rory MacDonald that are very well rounded,” Thompson continued. “For me it’s a chess match that I have to figure out in the gym but also I’ve got to be able to adapt to them in the Octagon. That’s why I love this game. He’s the champ. He’s the guy that’s got the title and I’m not stopping until I face him.”
Burns may have something to say about that.
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