Stephen Thompson understands why Vicente Luque called him out, but he feels Luque called out the wrong guy regardless.
New York, NY — When ‘Wonderboy’ — properly Stephen Thompson — steps into the octagon at UFC 244 this weekend, he’ll be looking to snap the first losing streak of his career.
The former title challenger has dropped two straight, something he’s looking to correct Saturday. And he’s been able to take inspiration from one of UFC 244’s main event fighters — Jorge Masvidal, who Thompson defeated two years ago.
“I’m kind of like where he was not too long ago,” Thompson told Cageside Press at Thursday’s media day ahead of the PPV event. “I’m coming off a loss, several losses, two losses back-to-back. Watching him, knowing I beat him at Madison Square Garden, UFC 217, and him going out there, putting in the work, got two good finishes, I think a win after Diaz, could be up for title contention, gives me inspiration that I could do the same thing.”
Thompson foresees a similar path for himself. “I go out there, put in the work, and finish these guys that I have coming up, maybe two opponents, I’ll be back fighting for a title maybe this time next year.”
First up, Vicente Luque, up-and-comer. Experience, believes Thompson, will be a big factor in their UFC 244 main card clash.
“A hundred percent. This is Madison Square Garden, going to put on a show,” said Thompson on that subject.
Being a top dog that up-and-comers call out assures the decorated striker that he remains a key player in the welterweight division. “He called me out after his win over Mike Perry, which goes to show I’m still relevant in the division,” Thompson said. “But he’s very tough. I was in his shoes not too long ago, trying to work my way up the rankings. Fighting Jake Ellenberger and Johny Hendricks.”
As a result, said Stephen Thompson, “I understand why he’s calling me out. That said, it’s the wrong guy to call out, for sure.”
Not that he’s overlooking Luque. “He’s got great Dutch kickboxing. It’s that classic kickboxer versus Karate style that you’re going to see out there this weekend. He’s a very tough opponent, I’m ready for a three five-minute round war.”
UFC 244 takes place Saturday, November 2 at Madison Square Garden in New York, NY. Watch our exclusive interview with Wonderboy above!