Stephen Thompson

Stephen Thompson wanted Santiago Ponzinibbio

Stephen Thompson is set to headline UFC Nashville when he takes on the former lightweight champion, Anthony Pettis who is moving up in weight to challenge Thompson. Although it is a big name for ‘Wonderboy’ he didn’t really want to fight Pettis at first, rather he wanted to take on streaking welterweight contender, Santiago Ponzinibbio.

“That’s another guy I tried to face, I tried to fight,” Thompson revealed when asked about Ponzinibbio (via MMANews). “The plan was to fight him in January. I was on Christmas vacation, still training cause it was to the point where I was just waiting on a contract. But I kept getting back, the UFC was saying he needed a little more time to prepare for me and things like that.

“Then my manager I think kind of touched with his manager and he just said he didn’t want to fight. I’m like OK, well shoot, what do I do now? I thought that would be an awesome fight. He’s a banger, a striker, known to knock dudes out, I think he finished Gunnar Nelson in the first round with a big right hand so you know he’s got power. He’s always game. I thought it was going to happen but it just didn’t work so here we are. Maybe in the future.”

Ultimately, for Thompson it is frustrating that he couldn’t get a fight with any top welterweight and will now have to challenge a lightweight moving up. The hope was he could start getting top-ranked opponents to try and get another crack at the title.

“It is kind of disappointing,” Thompson said. “I know everybody is considering me a gatekeeper at this point but a dangerous gatekeeper at that. It is a little disappointing that there are some guys in that division who I think would put on a great fight but then it doesn’t happen.”

For now, he will have to beat Pettis before he can get a top-ranked welterweight and hopefully get another shot at the title.