UFC 217 is one of those cards where every single fight will be a battle for a spotlight. The second fight on the television prelims features Ovince Saint Preux, if that gives you any indication of the scope we’re talking about. Not to be buried beneath the three title fights on the card, Stephen Thompson will throwdown with Jorge Masvidal right before Joanna Jedrzejczyk defends her title against Rose Namajunas. After fighting welterweight champ Tyron Woodley twice, Thompson seems pumped about a refreshing match-up with Masvidal.
“This fight has fireworks written all over it. I’ve been training for Tyron Woodley for almost a year now and this [fight with Jorge Masvidal] gives me somebody different to break down, somebody different to get ready for. The media obligations aren’t there. When I was fighting Tyron, especially with it being a title fight, it was kind of crazy. With this, I can just sit back and focus on the fight, train, train when I want to train and not have to go all over the place to do the media. It’s nice to be able to sit back and just think about the fight. I’m excited, I’m energized, I can relax a little bit more. The energy level is truly up.”
— Jorge Masvidal UFC (@GamebredFighter) July 26, 2017
“I wanted somebody in the top-5 anyway. When I got that tweet from Jorge [Masvidal], it really excited me. At that point, I was still into recovery time. But hey, it’s happening, and it’s happening soon. He really is coming into his own right now. He fought at 155 for a while and he’s doing really well at 170, defeating some really tough guys and going the distance with top-level fighters. He’s tough. They don’t call him ‘Gamebred’ for nothing. He’s always game when he steps out there, is very well-rounded, good muay thai, great boxing experience. I didn’t even know he was a street fighter before that. I saw some footage of him not too long ago doing some backyard street fighting. I remember thinking, ‘That dude is a tough guy, man.’” – Stephen Thompson speaking to FanSided.
Jorge Masvidal’s Miami-honed brawling guarantees an exciting clash with Stephen Thompson’s measured kickboxing. It’s just one of the seven welterweight match-ups that have been scheduled this year, but it’s one that carries some of the highest stakes. While Dana White has said the winner of Rafael dos Anjos and Robbie Lawler’s fight gets the next shot at Woodley, but if that Masvidal or Thompson puts in a better performance, it wouldn’t be a surprised for one of them to get the shot instead.
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 10/31/2017.