Stephen Thompson declares intentions for one final title run after canceled return: “I’m not a gatekeeper”

By Josh Evanoff - August 25, 2023

UFC welterweight contender Stephen Thompson has his eye on the title.

Stephen Thompson

‘Wonderboy’ was slated to return opposite Michel Pereira last month at UFC 291. However, the Brazilian badly missed weight, causing the bout to be scrapped. Leading into the bout, Stephen Thompson was coming off a win over Kevin Holland and was ready to build on his momentum.

However, it’s instead been a rough summer for the former title challenger. After Stephen Thompson’s bout with the Brazilian was canceled, Dana White famously declined to pay him. While not a guarantee, the UFC has paid previous fighters a portion of their purse if a fight is canceled due to weight issues.

That wasn’t the case for Stephen Thompson, and his feud with the UFC has only grown bigger. Following Ian Garry’s dominant win over Neil Magny on Saturday, he called out the former title challenger. At the post-fight press conference, White revealed that the Karate-fighter had already turned it down.

In a recent video uploaded to his YouTube channel, Stephen Thompson clarified things. In the video, he revealed that he turned down a short-notice fight with ‘The Future’, but offered to fight him with a full camp. However, given a recent callout from ‘The Nigerian Nightmare’, he’s since changed his focus. He now wants to make one final run for championship gold.


Stephen Thompson

“I was willing to fight the JDMs, the Ian Garrys, the Shavkats,” Stephen Thompson stated in a recent YouTube video. “But then you got the guy, the number one contender, the former UFC champion, one of the greatest fighters, calling me out. This was a guy that I thought I would face one day, and then never did. I think he was thinking the same thing, and I was like ‘Let’s make this fight happen’.”

He continued, “I’ve been fighting backward since Tyron Woodley, apart from Gilbert Burns. I’ve been fighting back, the Geoff Neals, the Vicente Luques, the Belal Muhammads, and tried to get that fight with Michel Pereira… I want to show the UFC, but also the fans, that I’m not a gatekeeper. I’m not a gatekeeper.”

“I’ve got a small window to do, what I want to do in the fight game, I’m 40 years old. When I see a chance to go for another title shot, before it’s over, when Kamaru Usman calls me out, a no brainer… Leon Edwards, when I beat Kamaru Usman, that’s my plan. That’s who I want.”

What do you make of these comments from Stephen Thompson? Do you want to see the fight?

This article appeared first on BJPENN.COM


Stephen Thompson UFC