UFC welterweight contender Stephen Thompson recently explained why he isn’t interested in a fight against hotshot prospect Khamzat Chimaev.
There have been rumors lately that Thompson could be the next man to step into the Octagon with Chimaev, who has quickly become one of the biggest young stars in the UFC. Since making his UFC debut in July on Fight Island, Chimaev has already picked up three brutal stoppage wins over Gerald Meerschaert, Rhys McKee, and John Phillips. UFC president Dana White has said that he considers Chikmaev to be a “special” fighter.
After his fight against Meerschaert, Chimaev was first linked to a welterweight bout against Demian Maia, who reportedly would rather fight another veteran in what could be his retirement fight. A report then emerged saying Thompson could be next in line for Chimaev or Leon Edwards. According to Thompson himself on a recent episode of his podcast, though, he won’t be fighting Chimaev in his next fight and he explained his reasons why.
“No, I’m not fighting him, man. I mean, it just doesn’t make sense for me at this point. I’m ranked No. 5 to fight a guy who is unranked? You know what I mean,” Thompson said (via TheBodyLockMMA).
“I fought a lot of guys to get to where I’m at. And a lot of other fighters fought a lot of guys to get where they’re at so I don’t see why it’s okay for him to jump past everybody.”
As Thompson notes, he is the current No. 5 ranked welterweight in the UFC while Chimaev is not ranked at all. While Chimaev has looked outstanding in the UFC so far, it seems like the top-10 fighters want to see him beat someone lower-ranked and earn his way up the ladder. Thompson, who is coming off of a decision win over Vicente Luque, would be better off fighting someone who is similar in ranking to him such as No. 3 ranked Leon Edwards.
Instead of fighting someone like Thompson, who doesn’t have much interest in the fight, Chimaev should instead be focusing on someone like the No. 10 ranked Neil Magny instead. Magny recently called Chimaev out but has essentially been ignored in favor of bigger names. Looking at things objectively, though, Chimaev vs. Magny seems like a great fight.
Do you agree with Stephen Thompson and his reasoning why he shouldn’t have to fight hotshot prospect Khamzat Chimaev?