Stephen Thompson feels that he should be fighting Robbie Lawler for the welterweight belt at UFC Fight Night on Saturday rather than his close friend Rory MacDonald.
Riding a six-fight win streak, Thompson squares off with MacDonald in a UFC Fight Night main event bout on the weekend in Canada.
Thompson announced himself in no uncertain terms in the UFC’s welterweight division with a dominant, first-round TKO finish over former champion Johny Hendricks back in February.
Speaking ahead of his clash with MacDonald, a fighter he has forged a close friendship with over the years, Thompson revealed that he felt he had done enough against Hendricks to warrant a go at owning the division’s crown.
“I thought I had it in the bag,” Thompson said to ESPN.
“Finishing the former welterweight champion, the guy who went five rounds with Georges St-Pierre, which was controversial, 10 rounds with the champ now, Robbie Lawler. The Robbie Lawler win was controversial as well. Some people say that Johny Hendricks won that fight.
“I look it as me actually defeating the welterweight champion, but in the first round.Nobody has ever done that to him.
“I was expecting to get that [a title fight], but sometimes you’ve got to prove to the fans in the UFC that you maybe got one more shot before you fight for the title. It is what it is.”
MacDonald’s last bout was a title fight against Lawler back in July of 2015 at UFC 189. The latter came out trumps in the fifth round of a bruising encounter.
While nothing is officially at stake on the weekend when Thompson and MacDonald meet, it is hard to see how the winner will be denied a title fight. MacDonald arguably deserved a rematch after running Lawler close and Thompson’s emphatic performance against Hendricks was mightily impressive.