A key welterweight fight between Gilbert Burns and Stephen Thompson is set for UFC 264 on July 10.
ESPN’s Brett Okamoto was first to report the news of the welterweight bout. Burns vs. Thompson is expected to serve as the co-main event to the trilogy of Dustin Poirier vs. Conor McGregor, with the event expected to be in Las Vegas, Dana White said after UFC 260. However, the location has not been confirmed or revealed.
It is a very intriguing welterweight bout and one that makes sense for the division. Burns and Thompson are both top-five welterweights and with Kamaru Usman vs. Jorge Masvidal 2 and Leon Edwards vs. Nate Diaz booked, this was a fight that had to happen, especially with Colby Covington holding out for a title shot. However, the winner would still likely be at least a win away from a title shot as it seems likely that the winner of Edwards-Diaz would face the winner of Usman-Masvidal 2.
Gilbert Burns is coming off a third-round TKO loss to Kamaru Usman at UFC 258 for the welterweight title. In the first round, Burns had actually dropped the champ and rocked him early but got over aggressive and it cost him. Before the loss, he dominated Tyron Woodley over five rounds and knocked out Demian Maia in March of 2020 at UFC Brasilia which was the last event before the pandemic. In his move to welterweight, he also had back-to-back short notice fights against Gunnar Nelson and Alexey Kunchenko and won both by decision.
Stephen Thompson, meanwhile, is finally getting a top-ranked opponent in Burns that he has been calling for. After his back-to-back wins over Geoff Neal and Vicente Luque, “Wonderboy” had been calling for fights with Leon Edwards and Colby Covington but they weren’t interested in the fight but it is good to see Thompson get a big fight.
Cole Shelton covers MMA for BJPenn.com, MMANews, and MyMMANews.com while also being the lead MMA odds writer for Sports Betting Dime