"You’ll be closing out your career" - Fans predict ominous outcomes for Stephen Thompson against Shavkat Rakhmonov

Shavkat Rakhmonov and Stephen Thompson [Image credits: Getty Images]
Shavkat Rakhmonov and Stephen Thompson [Image credits: Getty Images]

Stephen Thompson is undoubtedly among the best strikers in the UFC today and has established himself as a force to be reckoned with in the welterweight division. However, fans aren't so sure about his chances against Shavkat Rakhmonov at UFC 296 in December.

'Wonderboy' recently revealed that he's accepted a fight against the undefeated Kazakh national for the UFC's last pay-per-view of 2023 on December 16. The 40-year-old took to X (formerly Twitter) and wrote:

"UFC offered and I’ve accepted, @Rakhmonov1994 let’s close out the year strong. Dec 16 can’t wait."

'Nomad' is among the most dangerous contenders in the UFC's 170-pound division with a record of 17-0 and has finished all his opponents.

Soon after Stephen Thompson revealed that he had signed on to fight Shavkat Rakhmonov, fans understandably flocked to the tweet's comment section to express their concern for the welterweight veteran.

One fan sarcastically warned Thompson about Rakhmonov sending him into retirement and wrote:

"You’ll be closing out your career too, bro. I’ll miss you. Take care."

Another fan wrote:

"Damn man. Was hoping for Usman but this fight is a good one."

One user jokingly wrote:

"Should’ve taken that Ian Garry fight my friend."

Check out some more reactions below:

Screenshots from @WonderboyMMA
Screenshots from @WonderboyMMA

UFC CEO Dana White later officially confirmed that the Stephen Thompson vs. Shavkat Rakhmonov fight has been added to the UFC 296 main card. Moreover, he also revealed that Paddy Pimblett will be fighting Tony Ferguson on December 16.


Stephen Thompson vs. Shavkat Rakhmonov: Why did 'Wonderboy' reject a previous fight against 'Nomad'?

While Stephen Thompson has officially accepted a fight against Shavkat Rakhmonov, the No.7-ranked welterweight contender had previously turned down the same offer last year.

The UFC seemingly wanted to rope in the two-time welterweight title challenger as a high-profile stepping stone for Rakhmonov. While there were speculations about a potential Thompson vs. Rakhmonov fight going down last year, the bout never materialized.

During an interview with BJPenn.com in 2022, Stephen Thompson revealed that he had rejected the Shavkat Rakhmonov fight offer. He explained that he wanted to face some exciting strikers at his age and stated:

"UFC was talking about maybe Shavkat, he just beat Neil Magny. I was like, ‘Look, UFC, give me someone that is going to want to strike with me... We were looking at Li Jingliang, but he’s got a fight coming up. Kevin Holland, we were going to take that one, but I wanted the Madison Square Garden card, and he wanted to fight a little sooner."

Catch Thompson's comments below (1:20):

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Edited by Anurag Mitra