Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson, perennial welterweight contender, believes that his style and skills are a dangerous mix for Kamaru Usman.
Thompson told MMAfighting.com: “I think I’m a terrible matchup for him. I feel that I’m the last man standing right now.”
Is Wonderboy the “worst matchup” for Usman? He seems to think so…
Thompson’s fighting style throughout his career has been enigmatic and varied, despite several losses. His striking depends heavily on karate, rather than the kickboxing favored by most modern fighters, which his movements on the feet unpredictable and somewhat awkward.
Thompson has only been taken down twice in his last fourteen fights, and he cites his powerful takedown defense as one reason why he would be a nightmare for the Nigerian:
“Just because of the movement, our styles together. He’s the type of guy, he plods forward, he tries to get you to the cage but I feel like that was the old Kamaru.
I still feel like I’m a bad matchup for him, especially if he wants to keep the fight standing, like he did against Masvidal who is one of the best strikers in the division.
He knocked him out. I’ve got one of the best takedown defenses in our division as well. I can’t wait to step out there with him.
Is he going to stand there and strike or is he going to go straight for wrestling? Whatever happens, I’m obviously going to be prepared for it but I think I’m the worst matchup for him.”
Wonderboy is the highest-ranked fighter in the welterweight division who hasn’t fought Kamaru Usman before. Thompson knows that, if he takes out Gilbert Burns this Saturday, he’ll be infor his third shot at the title: “A good win over Gilbert Burns, he’s going to have to face me.”
Defeating Gilbert Burns is easier said than done. Prior to his own loss against the champ, Burns racked up four straight wins in the division, dominating Demian Maia and Tyron Woodley. Thompson knows that Burns will be craving a rematch against the champion, and was not short on praise for his opponent:
“I’m going to be facing off against a dangerous Gilbert Burns. His striking, he’s got the power, the ability to knock you out.
The ability to take you down and not only that but he’s got crazy jiu-jitsu […] I wouldn’t want anything less than what Gilbert Burns is going to bring on July 10.”
Who do you see winning the welterweight bout this Saturday? Does Thompson pose a serious threat to an increasingly dominant Kamaru Usman? Let us know in the comments.