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UFC Nashville: Stephen Thompson Wants to Remind Fans He’s “Still Here”, But What Could Win Deliver?

Stephen Thompson is looking to return to the win column tonight at UFC Nashville, in his first bout in nearly a year. So, what could a victory over Anthony Pettis deliver "Wonderboy"?

Stephen Thompson is looking to return to the win column tonight at UFC Nashville, in his first bout in nearly a year. So, what could a victory over Anthony Pettis deliver “Wonderboy”?

Thompson will face Pettis in the main event of today’s event, and it’s a fight that striking enthusiasts likely have marked as a ‘can’t miss’. Thompson will be competing for the first time since May, 2018, when he lost a tightly contested bout to Darren Till. Due to injuries Thompson sustained in that contest, the Karate stylist was sidelined for much of the year.

In advance of the bout, Thompson had this to say about his return to a welterweight division, which has incurred several changes at the top (quotes via MMA Fighting):

“That’s what I’m hoping,” said Thompson, while acknowledging he’s hoping to remind the MMA world of what he can do. “Out of sight out of mind, I haven’t fought in 10 months and people forget about you. That’s part of the sport. My goal is to go out and put on a good show for the fans, and hopefully come out with the finish, and let everybody know — the fans, and the UFC — that I’m still here.”

“….I like it, to be honest with you,” Thompson said, when asked about the recent changes the division’s championship picture’s undergone. “For a while there it had been stagnant. You had the whole Tyron Woodley/Colby Covington/Kamaru Usman debacle, and everybody was kind of on hold to see what was going to happen, if they were going to be next. Then the title changed. Then you have Masvidal knocking out Till, which I didn’t see that coming a mile away. It’s being shaken up, and I’m excited for it.”

These are certainly interesting times at 170; so where does Thompson fit in? If he defeats Pettis tonight?

Well, since Thompson is currently ranked #3, will remain in the title shot mix if he scores a win. Especially since Tyron Woodley, who Thompson failed to take the belt from twice before, is no longer champ. Will a victory move Thompson into a title fight? Probably not.

While Pettis is a big name,  “Showtime” is coming off a loss to Tony Ferguson and has never fought at 170. Further, Thompon is not long removed really from his defeat to Till. So, when you consider that Colby Covington is expected to be next for the new champ, Kamaru Usman,  Thompson will probably need to record another victory before fighting for the belt. If…he beats Pettis first.

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