Stephen Thompson and Kevin Holland put on a wildly entertaining fight in the main event of UFC Orlando this past weekend that earned both fighters a Fight of the Night bonus. 'Wonderboy' recently revealed that he turned down the UFC's original fight offer to face Holland.
Speaking to Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour, Thompson revealed that the UFC initially offered him Shavkat Rakhmonov. The No.6-ranked welterweight shared that he was irritated with the initial offer, stating:
"When they came to me and told me, they asked me to fight Shavkat [Rakhmonov]... I think it might've been Neil Magny that he fought. He had nine and a half minutes of control and he kept him on the ground and the UFC's telling me this guy's a striker, that he's just going to stand there and strike."
"I'm like, 'No way'. I'm like, 'You guys saw my last fights, right?' That's not what the fans want to see. They pretty much booed the last two fights, and they were boring because my opponents, all they did was shoot and just hold me. I don't know any fan that would want to sit there and watch that kind of Stephen 'Wonderboy' Thompson fight."
Thompson's decision to face a striker certainly paid off, as the fight was a high-level striking bout prior to Holland breaking his hand. Both fighters were reluctant to wrestle, with Holland even letting Thompson stand up at times.
Watch Stephen Thompson discuss the fight offer he turned down prior to UFC Orlando below (starting at the 1:13:50 mark):
Stephen Thompson reveals opponents he wants to face next
Fresh off his victory over Kevin Holland at UFC Orlando, Stephen Thompson revealed the opponent he would like to face in his next fight. Speaking to Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour, the No.6-ranked welterweight stated:
"Number one, Conor McGregor. People are wanting me to fight Conor. There is the 'BMF' [Jorge Masvidal], which I've been trying to get, 'BMF' versus the 'NMF'. People are wanting to see that and people are wanting to see the striking class, they want to see us strike. And of course, Michel Pereira, that would be awesome."
Notably, all three of the fighters mentioned by Thompson are known for their striking abilities. Furthermore, Conor McGregor and Jorge Masvidal represent an opportunity for Thompson to secure one last major payday.
Watch Stephen Thompson discuss who he would like to face in his next bout below: