Stephen Thompson is eager to fight Kamaru Usman after the former welterweight champion called him out. Thompson, 40, has been in the UFC since 2012 and has twice fought for the title, drawing with Tyron Woodley in 2017 and losing to him in a rematch in 2019. He most recently defeated Kevin Holland in 2021.
Usman, meanwhile, is the former welterweight champion and is currently the No. 1 contender. He lost to Leon Edwards in a trilogy fight in March but is still considered one of the best welterweights in the world.
Thompson said he is willing to fight Usman at any time but would prefer to have a full training camp. He said he has been fighting lower-ranked fighters in recent years to give them a chance, but is now ready to challenge himself again.
“I want to show the UFC and the fans that I’m not a gatekeeper,” Thompson said. “I’ve got a small window to kind of do what I want to do with the fight game. I’m 40 years old, and when I see a chance to go for another title shot before it’s over when Kamaru Usman calls me out, I’m like, dude, no brainer.”
Thompson said he is confident he can beat Usman and then go on to fight for the title again. He said he has learned from his losses to Burns and Muhammad and is a better fighter now.
“I got what it takes to go for that title again,” Thompson said. “I got what it takes to face those guys in the top five, in the top three, the No. 1 contender, that I can fight for the title again.”
For more UFC news and updates