MMA

Stephen Thompson not interested in Leon Edwards, but welcomes Nick Diaz fight

Stephen Thompson has yet to be booked for a fight in 2020, but he’s eager to compete.

Thompson (15-4-1 MMA, 10-4-1 UFC) is coming off a unanimous decision win over the streaking Vicente Luque last November at UFC 244 and is currently weighing the options for his next fight.

With the majority of the welterweight division’s top five booked, Leon Edwards seems like a logical next opponent for “Wonderboy.” But the former two-time UFC title challenger admits that he’s not too interested in fighting him.

Instead, he’d be happy to welcome back the returning Nick Diaz.

“Not really,” Thompson told “Submission Radio” on fighting Edwards. “If I were to be honest, if he ever comes back, Nick Diaz would be a really good fight. Interesting fight for sure. He’s very tough. I think I said something on Twitter the other day about how I would welcome him back to the division for sure.”

Edwards (18-3 MMA, 10-2 UFC) is on an eight-fight winning streak, but can’t seem to net the top-contender status his record would seem to demand. He’s stated his case for a title shot on numerous occasions, and despite not being interested in fighting him, Thompson understands where Edwards is coming from, showing high praise towards the surging Brit.

“I feel almost bad for the guy, because he literally is the guy in the top five who deserves to fight for the title,” Thompson said. “And I think that him not being able to get out of London and fight had something to do with it, that’s why they put up Gilbert Burns. But he definitely deserves the title, for sure. We’re managed by the same management company, and I just kind of feel bad that he hasn’t fought for it yet. And he, I think, is the scariest guy in the division; he really is. Every time you see this guy fight, he gets better.

“I mean, he comes into the UFC a striker. Now he’s outwrestling, outgrappling guys like (Rafael dos Anjos), even Vicente Luque when they fought. He was outwrestling him, taking him down, controlling him on the ground. He gets better every time you see him, and those are the guys that you really have to watch out for, really have to study for. Guys like Colby Covington and (Kamaru) Usman with that wrestling base, you kind of know what they’re bringing to the game. But with someone like Leon Edwards, he gets better, he’s a scary opponent.”

In Diaz (26-9 MMA, 7-6 UFC), Thompson sees the fight as an opportunity to face a big name in the sport, where both parties would benefit in a potential matchup.

“I just wanted to put my name out there,” Thompson said. “That’s a guy who’s been in the game a long time. He’s a veteran, and he’s fought some really good guys. I love the Diaz brothers, just their whole demeanor and their attitude, that’s just who they are. They’re not faking anything about it, and you’ve got to respect that. That’s just who they are, these guys. They crack me up. It’s awesome. They’re some tough dudes.

“I think it would be a great test back for him. I’m ranked No. 6 right now. Obviously trying to move up the rankings, if he beats someone in the top-10, maybe in one or two more fights, he could be fighting for a title ’cause he’s got a name. You’ve seen guys doing that, guys that are popular in the division, go to a division, have one or two fights (and get the title shot).”

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