Stephen Thompson knows he’s a bad matchup for the current welterweight champ, Kamaru Usman.
Thompson is set to face Gilbert Burns in the co-main event of UFC 264. If he wins, he could very well get a title shot due to the fact he’s the only fighter in the top-five that Usman hasn’t fought. If he does end up getting the title shot, “Wonderboy” knows there’s no chance the champ will strike with him. Instead, he’ll go back to the wrestler, grinding style that got him the title.
“The thing is, he’s known for his wrestling, he’s known for his grind, he’s known for breaking people, he’s got cardio for days,” Thompson said on Just Scrap Radio on BJPENN.com. “Now, he’s knocking out one of the best strikers in the division, Jorge Masvidal. He even knocked out Gilbert Burns with a jab. This guy’s striking is getting better and better. When I step out there, I will be fighting the best version of Kamaru Usman. I’m not overlooking Burns at all, but let’s say I go out there and I put on a good performance and get that shot, it’s going to be tough.
“At the same time, he’s got to prepare for me which is very difficult. Do I think he will try and stand there and bang it out? Heck no. He’s going to be shooting for my legs,” Thompson continued. “That’s what I got to watch out for, he’s got the wrestling, he’s got the striking that he could fake a shot and come up high with the right hand, he can mix it together very well. I think it’s a bad matchup for him. It would be a good one.”
In order for Thompson to even get the title shot against Usman, he will need to beat Burns on Saturday. If that ends up happening, he knows the scrap would be a chess match between the both of them trying to implement their game plan.
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