Stephen Thompson makes case for title shot against Kamaru Usman

Stephen Thompson, Nick Diaz
Image: UFC on Instagram

Longtime UFC welterweight contender Stephen Thompson believes he deserves the next shot at the division’s reigning champ, Kamaru Usman.

Usman returned to action in the main event of UFC 258 over the weekend, defending his title against No. 1 contender Gilbert Burns with a third-round TKO. With his win over Burns, Usman has now beaten four of the UFC’s top five welterweights, having also defeated Colby Covington, Leon Edwards and Jorge Masvidal.

The only top-five contender he hasn’t beaten is Thompson, who currently sits at No. 5 in the rankings.

That’s why Thompson believes he should get the next crack at the welterweight champion.

“Well seeing as how I’m the only guy in the top 5 that Usman hasn’t fought yet….I guess I’m next…makes sense right?” Thompson wrote on Twitter on Sunday. “Great performance @USMAN84kg!”

Stephen Thompson is currently riding a pair of decision victories over rising welterweight contenders in Geoff Neal and Vicente Luque. Those setbacks separated him from a knockout loss to Anthony Pettis and decision setback against Darren Till. He’s challenged for the welterweight title twice previously, first battling Tyron Woodley to a draw in late 2016, then losing an immediate rematch in early 2017.

While Thompson can make a reasonably sound argument for a title shot, however, it sounds like Kamaru Usman has other plans.

After his victory over Burns, he set his sights on a rematch with Jorge Masvidal—a man Thompson defeated by decision in 2019.

Usman defeated Masvidal via decision in 2020, but many fans have been hungry for a rematch given that Masvidal accepted the fight on less than a week’s notice. Masvidal has since expressed his willingness to accept that rematch request, and the pair have been linked to coaching spots on the next season of The Ultimate Fighter, so Thompson might be out of luck.

Who do you think Stephen Thompson deserves the next welterweight title shot?

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