Wonderboy: I want a Top 5 opponent next. Open to Covington, McGregor, UFC Dublin

Severe MMA’s own Seán Sheehan spoke with the UFC’s #6 ranked Welterweight Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson (15-4-1) on Thursday afternoon during the American’s visit to Ireland.

With UFC Dublin’s surprise announcement of an event in the capital for August much talk circulated about who would be in the main event. When asked if a potential main event slot against Gunnar Nelson would interest the South Carolina native he made his intentions clear. 

“As of right now we are trying to meet somebody in the top five right now or a name. I’ve just defeated Vicente Luque. I’m not really sure where Gunnar is right now in the rankings. I’m trying to work my way up into a title fight.”

“Obviously Gunnar Nelson is a tough guy so you never know down the road we may end up facing each other for sure. Hopefully he can get himself into that top 5 or top 10 in the rankings and we can maybe make that happen. But as of right now I’m just focused on the top 5 and trying to go for that title again.” 

The top 5 in the Welterweight division hosts such names as Colby Covington, BMF title holder Jorge Masvidal amongst others. Thompson was enthusiastic to fight such names on Irish soil. 

“Oh yeah for sure man. To fight on Irish soil would be awesome. I’ve heard the fans here are amazing. There is not an arena that explodes like the 3 Arena in Dublin. That would definitely be a cool experience for sure.”

With all the talk recently about who is next for a shot at Usman’s title, it seems Jorge Masvidal is leading the race for that. Leon Edwards vs. Tyron Woodley headlining UFC London’s upcoming card in what seems to be a #1 contender bout, Thompson finds himself to be the forgotten fighter in the division. Thompson himself recognizes what’s in front of him. 

“Well you know I’ve got a lot of competition. I mean these guys are popular and very good fighters. The crazy thing is that when I see Masvidal and the success he has it given me the inspiration to move forward. It was only two years ago when I defeated him[Masvidal] in Madison Square Garden. You know, after that loss for him he exploded and had some really good wins over some tough opponents but that could be me in a year or so.” 

“I’ve got to stay focused, I’ve got a small window to get done what I need to do I’ve just turned 37 and I wanna make the best of it and keep working towards that title. It doesn’t really bother me that much. I’ve just got to make sure that when I step into the octagon next that I put on an excellent performance to let the fans and the UFC know that I’m still here.”  

When pressed on who he would like to face up with next ‘Wonderboy seemed open to all comers.

“There are a few guys that are fighting coming up so we’ll wait to see what happens with those. You’ve got Tyron Woodley and Leon Edwards. You know, Colby Covington is coming off an injury. I’m kind of waiting for my hand to heal up and get the OK from the doctor. I broke both of my hands in the Luque fight. I’ve got to wait for those to heal up and hopefully around that time Colby Covington is healed up. Maybe I could get a fight with Leon Edwards. It’s kind of up in the air and we’ll see with what the UFC wants to do. I’ll take on anybody being honest with you. The NMF vs the BMF would work too.” 

Another possible fight is against Conor McGregor. Thompson seemed more than open to that prospect and would even put him NMF title on the line due to the recent McGregor build-up.

“He has been fairly nice. He was very nice for his last fight against Cowboy Cerrone. So I kind of poked at him a little bit after that fight because he was being so nice. Hey man, you’re being nice – you may want to fight for the NMF belt.”


“Obviously he’s got bigger or better plans in the future, maybe Khabib again or maybe he’ll want another boxing match, but he’s looking at those big money fights. But it would be cool. I don’t know of anyone who wouldn’t want to fight him because you know it’s going to be a big payday.” 


Listen below for the rest of the interview with Seàn Sheehan where Thompson opens up about a possible move to Middleweight, his thoughts on the recent judging, travelling to Cork for Fight Con this weekend and his understanding of the current criteria.

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Ian O'Neill is a Kilkenny man living in Canada. You can catch him on Twitter most of the time talking all things MMA. Follow me on Twitter and on Instagram @ioneillmma.