Stephen Thompson feels that he is the last man standing at 170-pounds that can dethrone Kamaru Usman.
The UFC welterweight champ Usman (19-1) has defended his title four times, dispatching top contenders such as Jorge Masvidal, Colby Covington and Gilbert Burns along the way. ‘The Nigerian Nightmare’ is unbeaten since 2013 and is on a 14 fight winning streak in the UFC.
Thompson, who is scheduled to fight Burns at UFC 264 this weekend, staked his claim for a shot against Usman.
“I’m the guy that hasn’t faced him yet,” Thompson told MMA Fighting. “It feels like everyone in the top-10 has already fought him at some point in time. Leon Edwards has fought him in the past. Gilbert Burns has fought him. Colby Covington has fought him. He just knocked out Jorge Masvidal. Like who else is this guy going to fight? And then I think it was not too long ago he was talking about fighting Michael Chiesa and it’s like why wouldn’t it have been me?
“I think I’m a terrible matchup for him. I feel like that I’m the last man standing right now. A good win over Gilbert Burns, he’s going to have to face me.”
After picking up just two stoppage wins in his first ten UFC appearances, Usman has finished three of his last four fights. Thompson has taken note of this and was full of praise for the welterweight champion.
“This guy, he’s getting better every day,” Thompson said of Usman. “Normally all he did up and coming, he was wrestling guys, beating them up on the ground and now he’s knocking guys out. So you can tell his striking is getting better and better every fight. That’s just another optical I’m going to have to think about whenever I step out there and prepare for him. Not only does he have the wrestling, not only does he have the control and strength but now he’s got the striking. That’s what makes it fun for me. This is what I love.”