Stephen Thompson has earned a reputation for being one of the nicest men in combat sports, even being awarded a token 'NMF' belt by Ariel Helwani. 'Wonderboy' may be one of the nicest people outside the Octagon, but is one of the best strikers inside it.
Stephen Thompson is a former full-contact kickboxer who was undefeated through 37 amateur and 20 professional bouts. He made his UFC debut in 2012 after amassing a 6-0 professional MMA record.
'Wonderboy' had an incredible run to his welterweight title shot, beating the likes of Robert Whittaker and former champion Johny Hendricks on a seven-fight win streak.
Thompson fought then-champion Tyron Woodley at UFC 205 and missed out on the belt owing to the fight being ruled a majority draw. The two faced each other in a rematch at UFC 209 and Thompson lost the bout via unanimous decision.
At UFC 217, Stephen Thompson faced Jorge Masvidal and dominated 'Gamebred' to win a unanimous decision victory. Following this victory, 'Wonderboy' suffered the only consecutive losses of his career to Darren Till and Anthony Pettis. To this day, Pettis is the only person to have finished Thompson inside the Octagon.
Stephen Thompson deserves another shot at the welterweight title
Welterweight champion Kamaru Usman faces Jorge Masvidal at UFC 261 in a rematch for the title. The two fought each other at UFC 251 when Masvidal stepped in on six days' notice to fight the champion and save the main event.
ESPN's Brett Okamoto recently interviewed Usman and the welterweight champion claimed that he has cleaned out the top five of the division and is about to lap them. While Usman has clearly stamped his authority on the division, the only person in the top five he is yet to fight is Stephen Thompson.
Fans have been calling for a rematch between Usman and Colby Covington. While there is a fair case to be made for the same, 'Wonderboy' is a more deserving contender than a possible rematch for the champion.
Stephen Thompson has been in the top five for a long time and has always agreed to fight anyone, even fighters ranked much lower than him. 'Wonderboy' is a skilled, entertaining fighter who has more than earned his right to a title shot.
Stephen Thompson has agreed to face Gilbert Burns at UFC 264 although the same has yet to be confirmed by the UFC. Fans will be excited to see two of the nicest and baddest fighters in the welterweight division throw down in what promises to be a very exciting fight. Burns had called out Covington for a fight, but the latter never responded.
Stephen Thompson is 38 years old, even though he may not look it. His years of fighting are drawing to a close and the man who has sat patiently amidst the top five for so long deserves a shot at the title.
As much as fans would like to see him fight Gilbert Burns, Wonderboy's next bout should be against the winner of Kamaru Usman vs Jorge Masvidal.
The 'NMF' has earned it.