Stephen Thompson Offers Himself As Opponent For Nick Diaz
The former UFC title contender offers up his thoughts on a number of subjects including Diaz, GSP and Leon Edwards.
Former UFC title contender Stephen Thompson was a recent guest on “Submission Radio.”
Thompson offered up his thoughts on a number of subjects including the return of Nick Diaz.
“Wonderboy” let it be known that he would love to welcome Diaz back to the Octagon.
Thompson also talked about Georges St-Pierre possibly returning, Leon Edwards and more.
On taking a break from fighting due to COVID and not having anyone to fight
“COVID hit, everything kind of shut down. And for me, I could have come back a lot sooner, but I’m around 650 kids every day, and a lot of these kids are being raised by their grandparents who are elderly. So, I just felt like it would be kind of wrong on my part to be going out. And what if I ended up catching it and spreading it here? And at the time I just decided to kind of put it on hold, on the backburner and focused on our gym. And we were doing online classes. I was more busy in that era than I am now. But right now, like, who do I fight? I’m kind of itching at the bits to kind of step out there and do it again.”
“As of right now I’m ready to step back out there. I think we got a hold of it, and the UFC is doing a really good job. So, I’m ready, man. I’m ready for sure.”
On who the UFC tried to give Stephen
“I really don’t think they were pushing a whole lot of people at that time. they mentioned I think Geoff Neal, I think Neil Magny before he had his last fight. Then he ended up getting a fight and then Geoff Neal ended up getting a fight, and then he got sick, or like I’m pretty sure he almost died or something like that. I’m not really sure what happened to Geoff Neil. But for me, somebody who’s been in the game, you know, just beat Vicente Luque who’s an up and comer and is on a win streak right now, he’s dominating some really good dudes, I feel like I deserve somebody a little bit higher ranked.”
“I’m ready to fight whoever. To be honest with you, I don’t even care. I’m ready to fight somebody.”
“Give me all of them. Just give me all of them, bro! I don’t care. Give me somebody in the top five right now! Right now! Make it happen! I’m ready for everybody. Any one of those guys. Please.”
eOn having no interest in fighting Leon Edwards
“Not really. If I were to be honest, If he ever comes back, Nick Diaz would be a really good fight. Interesting fight for sure. He’s very tough. I think I said something on Twitter the other day about how I would welcome him back to the division for sure.”
“But Leon Edwards, he doesn’t have a fight coming up. But I feel almost bad for the guy, because he literally is the guy in the top five who deserves to fight for the title, and I think that him not being able to get out of London and fight had something to do with it, that’s why they put up Gilbert Burns. But he definitely deserves the title for sure. We’re managed by the same management company, and I just kind of feel bad that he hasn’t fought for it yet. And he, I think is the scariest guy in the division, he really is. Every time you see this guy fight, he gets better. I mean, he comes into the UFC a striker. Now he’s outwrestling, out grappling guys like RDA, even Vicente Luque when they fought. He was outwrestling him, taking him down, controlling him on the ground. He gets better every time you see him, and those are the guys that you really have to watch out for, really have to study for. Guys like Colby Covington and Usman with that wrestling base, you kind of know what they’re bringing to the game. But with someone like Leon Edwards, he gets better, he’s a scary opponent.”
“But, yeah man, at this point I don’t care. UFC, just give me somebody. I’m just ready to go out there and scrap.”
On why he’s a good return fight for Nick Diaz
“You see him, ‘hey yo’, this guy talks about coming back. I didn’t believe it. I didn’t believe it. But if he was planning on it, even if he’s thinking about it, I just wanted to put my name out there. That’s a guy who’s been in the game a long time, he’s a veteran and he’s fought some really good guys. I love the Diaz brothers, just their whole demeanor and their attitude, that’s just who they are. They’re not faking anything about it. And you gotta respect that. That’s just who they are, these guys. They crack me up, it’s awesome. They’re some tough dudes.”
“I think it would be a great test back for him. I’m ranked number six right now. Obviously trying to move up the rankings, if he beats someone in the top 10, maybe in one or two more fights, he could be fighting for a title cause he’s got a name. You’ve seen guys doing that, guys that are popular in the division, go to a division, have one or two fights [and get the title shot].”
On how the fight between him and Nick would go
“Just from looking back at his old fights, he beats a lot of people. Obviously, he’s got a really long range, he has cardio for days, he beats people with volume. He goes out there and pop, pop, pop, kind of like his brother. And it’s not like he hits you with that one hitter quitter knockout, he just fbreaks you down, breaks you down, over and over. You’ve seen him do it with high-level strikers, you know, just comes forward and just beats you with volume and give you that one strike that puts you down like he did with Robbie Lawler. He almost got knocked out in that fight, came back and knocked out Robbie Lawler. But he just beats guys that way. And for a guy like that, obviously you’re going to have to use something that’s longer than his arms, which are my legs. So, my movement, my leg kicks. And I’ve kind of really worked on my cardio after my second fight in the UFC, and it’s done well for me ever since then. When I fought Matt Brown, I died literally in like 30 seconds of the first round. So, I really focused on my cardio. But I just think it would be an exciting fight, just for those true martial artists out there who just love the chess match and just love the game. And that’s what makes the fight game fun for me, trying to figure out my opponent. Sometimes you can figure them out outside of athe octagon when you watch video and footage, which I did with Johnny Hendricks. I mean, no disrespect to him, but it almost seemed kind of easy when I went out there and fought him, because when you see him fight once, you’ve seen him fight one million times. But those guys like Rory MacDonald, those guys like Tyron Woodley, you know, Vicente Luque, it’s the chess match that makes it fun for me. And having to adapt out there in the octagon, it’s fun, man.”
On whether Nick or Nate are a tougher fight for Conor McGregor after Conor’s recent “line them up” tweet
“I think it would definitely be Nick Diaz.”
“I think fighting someone like Nick for Conor would just be a little bit more difficult, cause you don’t know what he’s gonna do and you don’t know what he’s been working on. It’s been years since this guy has fought, but at the same time, like Georges St. Pierre, he’s a martial artist and he’s always training, this guy.”
His theory that GSP is secretly preparing to fight Khabib Nurmagomedov
“Speaking of Georges, he looks very, very lean. Like he might be going down to 155 or something. You know what I mean? This is just something that I’ve kind of picked up looking at his Instagram. The guy looks so lean.”
On GSP having a shot against Khabib at 155
“I would give him a shot, for sure. At 155 I think he’d do great. I think he’s a better striker than Khabib. I think his wrestling is right up there with him. I think he’s a very intelligent fighter, so I know he would have a really good game plan going into that fight. But it would be his cardio and the weight cut. The weight cut and how his cardio is going to do being down at that weight. I remember years ago when he was fighting, going down there and training with him, he said he could definitely make 155 if he wanted to. And he’s shorter than me and he’s got a waist, he’s got this tiny waist, so it kind of leads you to believe he’s got a body for a natural 155-er. I noticed it last week, like, why is he looking so lean? And I know people are talking about. Georges St-Pierre vs. Khabib. So, I don’t know if he’s trying or he’s thinking about it.”
On Jorge Masvidal saying he wants to get his loss back against Thompson
“I think that’s awesome. We did do battle, and it was a great fight at Madison Square Garden, UFC 217. And after you fight somebody, you learn a lot about somebody. You go out there, and I’ve beaten guys who are looking for a way out. And I’ve fought guys who take these shots, they keep coming forward, they don’t give up, and it’s like, those are the type of guys that you respect a lot and who I would want to have my back in a situation, cause you know they’ve got that indominable spirit. And even at the highest level you’ve got guys who look for ways out. You know, ‘oh, I’m getting ground and pounded’ – you see Khabib doing this with a lot of guys – ‘let me turn my back, knowing he’s gonna choke me out’, and you can tell they’re looking for a way out. And Masvidal is not that guy, man. We went three, five-minute rounds, knocking him down twice with a side kick, with a right hand, the dude literally did not break. I was trying to break him mentally. Didn’t happen, man. He’s tough, and he’s gotten better since then, and he’s got this confidence about him now, which can make a guy very scary.”
“I was fighting so hard for him [to beat Usman]. I was like, please win this fight, bro. It didn’t happen. But hey, if he ever wants to fight, I’m here for him. So, we’ll make it happen hopefully at some point.”
On how the rematch with Masvidal goes
“I’ve kept my eye on him since he’s worked his way up very closely, and what makes him dangerous is the guy will throw now. Obviously, you saw the flying knee with Ben Askren. He’ll throw something out of nowhere, and he hits people with it, like the flying knee. And that makes you think, like, alright, what’s he gonna do now? And I think that’s what makes me a little bit frustrating as well whenever I fight people, because people don’t know what I’m gonna throw. I could hit you with a side kick, and now when you prepare for someone like him, which makes Izzy Adesanya scary as well, you don’t know what he’s gonna do.”
“What’s he got up his sleeve? Nobody knew that he was hit the knee on Ben Askren. Everybody knew that he was gonna get beaten by Ben Askren. That was everybody’s plan, right? You were hoping it, but you thought Ben Askren was gonna beat him. And then five seconds into the thing he’s running across the ring in the octagon and hit him with a flying knee. Like, who expected that crap? You know Ben Askren didn’t, which is why he ducked his head. That makes a guy scary right there. You don’t know what he’s gonna do. But yeah, I think now he’s got that confidence and he’s not afraid to do anything. Before, he just fought like he always does. He’s got that Muay Thai style, he’s aggressive, every now and then he’ll try and take you down, which is how he fought. And I’d definitely have to go back to the drawing board if I ever face him again. I do believe that he’s better. And of course I think I’ve gotten better since I fought him as well. So, I think it would be a good scrap. Good scrap.”
If the Tyron Woodley fighting Colby Covington is the same one he fought for the title
“From what I’ve seen in the last two fights – actually, the last fight during training camp, I follow him on social media, I listen to interviews and things like that, and mentally he seemed there. He seemed like he was in the best shape of his life. He was training hard, he was getting everything back on track, and for some reason when he got out there, it just… we have our good days and we have our bad days, right? And it kind of surprised me, because I saw him get beat the way he did. I think getting knocked down in the first round kind of changed things. He got knocked down and almost got finished, and I think that kind of switched the tide a little bit and made Tyron Woodley be a little less aggressive than he usually is. Usually he waits and waits and waits. He didn’t even do anything the rest of the fight, it seemed like. And the fight before that, yeah, it just doesn’t seem like it was the same guy that I faced for my first or even my second fight. But with that said, I really hope and I think that he’s the kind of got his mind right. I know he’s training with the BMF, he’s training with Jorge Masvidal, they’re getting some good work in. And to have somebody like Masvidal, Masvidal is kind of an upbeat guy, and having somebody like that at the gym really makes the training fun. And having someone as good as Masvidal, especially striking-wise, gives you the confidence like no other. So, I’m glad the BMF is out there training with him. But I really hope to see Tyron Woodley go out there and do what he does best. So, the last two fights it doesn’t seem like he was the same. But I’ve always been really positive with people, and I really hope that he’s got it right, man.
“I think he’s 38 years old. He’s a year older than me. So, it kind of gives me the inspiration. Like, I’ll be 38 in February. I know I’m better than I was at 32 or 33. I know for a fact I’m faster, I’m stronger, my whole skillset is better. So, I feel like he can do the same.”
On who wins between Woodley and Covington
“Just from the whole mindset that he’s taken now, I’ve been watching him and seen some of his interviews and things like that, he looks like he’s on point. It seems like he’s on point. I know he learned from that last loss. Even when he lost it, he said, ‘oh, I don’t know what happened, I’m ready to fight right now, ready to go back in the octagon and fight again, cause I know I can do better’. And I think he wants that one back. I really do. And what better guy to do it against who he’s had beef with in the past, it’s Colby Covington. I think everybody wants to see Colby Covington lose. But you gotta have the guy that you cheer for, and you gotta have the bad guy. And I feel like Colby has taken that role a little bit. He’s not good at it, but he’s taken that role. So, to be honest, I wouldn’t want to see Colby fight for the title again. I think Usman just dominated, I think he beat the crap out of him. But I would love to see, I’m leaning towards Tyron. I think Tyron’s striking is more explosive, I think he’s got the knockout power to finish him. Especially after Colby Covington breaking his jaw. He can have it broken again for sure.”