When it comes to the UFC welterweight division there has been one man near the top for the last eight years or more and that man is Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson. With a background in karate, Thompson showed up in the UFC back in 2012 and began to outstrike his opponents.
He scored five KOs in his first nine fights to earn his first title shot. Although he has never earned that elusive UFC title he is still thought of as one of the best at 170 pounds.
Now, Thompson is looking at another man at welterweight for inspiration: another striker who recently had his way with a known grappler and came out on top. That man is Leon Edwards.
Stephen Thompson Says Leon Edward’s Performance Against Kamaru Usman Inspires Him Every Day
Thompson is coming off a TKO victory over Kevin Holland. Fans are calling the bout a “striking clinic” put on by Thompson. He dominated the fight and, without the threat of a takedown by Holland, was able to showcase his Karate style. He knows that he will eventually have to face a grappler on his way to the top and is pulling inspiration from the new champion on that front.
“To have a guy who’s known for striking and being one of the best strikers in the division, taking the guy who hasn’t been taken down in the first round and controlling him in the first round,” he said on the Believe You Me Podcast.
Edwards was able to come back in the last round against Usman and land a perfect head kick to end the fight and earn him his first UFC title. Thompson is looking at Edwards as a roadmap for strikers in the division and would like to test himself against Edwards as well.
“I think about that all the time. If he can do it, I can do it. You know, I’ve been trying to fight him for the longest time. And then, of course, it’s been a long time coming for him to get that shot. I’m glad he got it. And just want to let him know that Yeah, man. He’s a huge inspiration of mine,” he said. “And one of the reasons why not only do I need to show just my striking, but I want to be able to show my wrestling a little bit out there, especially at this level.”
Thompson also explained in the video that he broke his hand during his fight with Holland and would need some time off before returning to the Octagon. He plans on working on his jiu-jitsu during his recovery.
Edwards is expected to face Kamaru Usman in a rematch this year, but perhaps Thompson could be the right fit for the winner of that title fight somewhere down the line.
Please provide transcription credit with a link to this article if you use any of these quotes.