Thompson Discusses What It Would Take For Him To Fight Adesanya
Veteran striking phenom Stephen Thompson finds himself stuck in the middle of a 170lbs division stand off. He was unsuccessful in his two previous title shots against former champion, Tyron Woodley, who used defensive wrestling and distance management to suppress his famed counter striking abilities. This resulted in two uneventful losses for the 37 year old South Carolina native.
Kamaru Usman now sits on top of the welterweight pile and is booked to defend his title against Gilbert Burns at UFC 251. However, Thompson is still chasing his third opportunity to compete for the belt.
“You know, I always told myself if I ever got the title and Robert Whittaker was still the champion at that weight. You know, since I faced him before… that I would be cool to go up and fight him again.”
Thompson scored an impressive first round TKO win over Whittaker six years ago at UFC 170, before the Aussie moved up to middleweight. But while ‘Bobby Knuckles’ had huge success at 185lbs, ‘Wonderboy’ fears he would be too small for the division.
“But to be honest with you, I’m not a big welterweight. I walk around at 190, 195 [pounds]. You know, when I spar and train with guys like Chris Weidman whose a 185er, just to feel the power and strength of these guys is ridiculous. When he grabs me by my wrist I feel like a five-year-old, I can’t get away. So to face guys like him in that division, because I’m not a big guy, I would literally have to put on some muscle and weight to move up to that middleweight class.
“As of right now [no], but in the future, I don’t know. I mean if Adesanya is still the champion — if I get that title, that could be a possibility, just to mix things up.”
Do you think Stephen Thompson could live with Israel Adesanya in middleweight MMA bout between the two former kickboxing stars?