Two-time Ultimate Fighting Championship welterweight title challenger Stephen Thompson reiterates he is still keen on a fight with former UFC welterweight champion Robbie Lawler despite talks taking longer than expected.
Thompson has been frustratingly close in his recent outings: He fell short on two occasions against current welterweight king Tyron Woodley, but by the narrowest of margins, taking “The Chosen One” to draw in their first fight and dropping a majority decision in the rematch. “Wonderboy” last fought in Liverpool, England back in May, losing a controversial decision to Darren Till.
Lawler, however, has not fought since losing to Rafael dos Anjos by unanimous decision back in December, suffering a torn ACL in the process. The injury has kept him sidelined up until now but Thompson believes Lawler is now back in the gym readying for a return to the Octagon.
Thompson recently spoke with Jim Edwards of MMA NYTT and said he’s excited for a potential match and believes their styles will ensure an exciting fight.
“It’s all up to him right now,” Thompson said. “We’re both coming off a knee injury. He also ended up tearing his MCL in his last fight with dos Anjos, but I think he’s back in the gym now training. I really want this fight, but to be honest with you the ball is now in his court. I tried poking at him a little via social media and we’ve been in contact with his management. It sounds like he wants to make it happen so we’re just kind of just waiting on him.
“He’s a guy I’ve been wanting to face for a long time now; ever since he won the title,” Thompson added. “I personally thought he was going to beat Tyron Woodley, but it didn’t end up happening that way. I’ve been wanting to step out into the Octagon with him for a while now. I’ve been a huge fan of his and I’ve been watching him ever since the days of Strikeforce. He’s just a good guy and super tough. His stand-up is great and he never takes a step back. Those are the guys that I want to face off against and I think it would be fireworks if we fought.”