Just In Stephen Thompson not giving up on UFC title: ‘I know I’m the best in this division’ MMA Life

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NEW YORK – Stephen Thompson still has goals of becoming the world champion.

Thompson (15-4-1 MMA, 10-4-1 UFC) put on a clinic this past Saturday at UFC 244 when he stopped the winning streak of the surging Vicente Luque with a unanimous decision win that resulted in a “Fight of the Night” bonus.

The former two-time welterweight title challenger believes his performance against Luque proved he still has what it takes to win the title. He failed twice vs. then champ Tyron Woodley, first fighting to a draw in UFC 205 in November 2016, then dropping a tightly contested majority decision at UFC 209 in March 2017.

“I’m not giving up on that title,” Thompson told reporters, including MMA Junkie, post-fight the UFC 244 post-event news conference. “I know I’m ranked No. 9 like I said, or eight – I don’t know what I am right now but I’m not giving up on it. I know I’m the best in this division.

“I’ve fought the best in this division. The only guys I haven’t faced are the top two right now. I’ve faced Tyron twice, (Darren) Till, Johnny Hendricks, (Jake) Ellenberger, (Robert) Whittaker. Not giving up on it.”

After a string of unfortunate results, a semi-controversial loss to Darren Till in 2018, followed by his first career knockout loss to Anthony Pettis at UFC on ESPN+ 6 in March, Thompson came into UFC 244 with his back against the wall.

Luque was a dangerous opponent who had everything to gain, but Thompson was able to show a hight level of skills, landing a career-best in significant strikes with 138. Despite all the damage, though, Luque would not go away.

“I trained as hard as I could for Vicente Luque,” Thompson said. “I know he’s ranked No. 14 but I think he’s one of the – he’s the toughest guy I’ve faced in the octagon. Definitely the hardest head as well. Ended up doing a number on my hand but he was tough so I knew it wasn’t going to be easy. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy taking him out, and I was ready for a three five-minute round for sure.”

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