Stephen Thompson doesn’t agree with the UFC’s choice for Kamaru Usman’s next title defense.
UFC president Dana White has reiterated that Colby Covington (16-2 MMA, 11-2 UFC) is next in line for welterweight champion Usman (19-1 MMA, 14-0 UFC) and the pair are projected to run things back before the end of the year.
But Thompson (16-4-1 MMA, 11-4-1 UFC), who’s vying for another title shot himself, thinks Covington is undeserving. He thought Usman was beating him handily before stopping him in Round 5 at UFC 245.
“Usman was piecing him up,” Stephen Thompson said on his “What’s Up Everybody?!” podcast. “Colby Covington was swinging and missing. He was throwing a lot of volume, but wasn’t hitting anything. … I don’t think he deserves it. His last fight was Tyron Woodley. … I don’t think he deserves it, either Leon (Edwards) or myself.”
Stephen Thompson will take on former title challenger Gilbert Burns (19-4 MMA, 12-4 UFC) in the co-main event of UFC 264, which takes place July 10 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. In a recent interview with Submission Radio, Thompson said he thinks the jiu-jitsu ace will eventually resort to his grappling when they fight.
“Obviously, I think his biggest attribute is jiu-jitsu and wrestling,” Stephen Thompson said. “So obviously that’s something that I’ve been working on every day. But I think he wants to shoot. He may act like he’s shooting to set up his hands. I know those tricks. They like to shoot. I’ve faced guys, like maybe not in the highest level of jiu-jitsu, but good wrestlers do the same thing.
“They’ll fake the shot (and) come up with the big power hand or left hook. That could be in his game plan. But I feel like he’s going to want to get the fight to the ground. And the thing is, almost everybody that I fight, at some point they want to try and make that happen. So, it’s pretty much trying to prepare for every fight the same way. And it kind of makes it fairly easy for me. But I do believe he’s going to be shooting for the legs, for sure.”