UFC welterweight contender Stephen Thompson is currently slated to face former lightweight champion Anthony Pettis this March. It was a matchup that seemingly came out of left field, but for Pettis, it is more of a bucket list fight.
According to “Wonderboy”, Pettis was not his first choice.
“I tried to get (Robbie) Lawler. I was pushing (for) Lawler really hard,” Thompson said on a recent appearance on The MMA Hour (via MMA Fighting). I was pushing it, the UFC was saying that it may or may not happen, Lawler was saying it was going to happen, and I was in New York helping Chris Weidman get prepped for his fight against ‘Jacare’ Souza and then they announced that [Lawler] was fighting (Ben) Askren.
“So I’m like, alright. So I tried to fight RDA, he said he was having surgery; Leon Edwards, he said his sciatica was acting up; and then (Santiago) Ponzinibbio, he just said no. So it just wasn’t working out for me, so I was just willing to take anything, to be honest with you.
“Anthony Pettis has a name,” he added. “At this point in time, I’ve been out for almost seven months, I had a knee injury after the (Darren) Till fight.”
Apart from Pettis’ name value, Thompson also believes there is something a bit more personal between him and Team “Showtime”.
“There’s a lot of guys right now who I’d like to fight but they have fights coming up, so it just wasn’t working out for me in the 170 [matchmaking] the past few months,” Thompson explained. “So I was keeping my fingers crossed, and next thing you know, Anthony Pettis is calling me out. So I was like, sure, let’s do it. And I think he thinks he’s got my number.
“I’ve fought Tyron (Woodley) twice. He’s got the same coach, Duke Roufus, and Roufus thinks he’s got my number, so I’m here to prove him wrong.”
Thompson and Pettis will headline UFC on ESPN+ 6, which takes place on March 23rd in Nashville, Tennessee.