Big-Name UFC Contender Admits He Doesn’t Want to Fight Israel Adesanya

Israel Adesanya

Getty Israel Adesanya

Top-ranked UFC welterweight contender Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson wouldn’t want to be locked inside the Octagon with 185-pound king Israel Adesanya.

Wonderboy, who is a career 170-pounder, was asked about the potential matchup while speaking with Middle Easy in a recent interview. The kickboxing savant admitted that because he’s “not a big welterweight” and has a lot of experience working with former middleweight champion Chris Weidman, he knows the size difference between him and “The Last Stylebender” would be very challenging to handle.

“It’s funny because I’m not a big welterweight,” Thompson said. “I probably walk around 195 at my heaviest. These guys are walking around like 220. I mean, I train with Chris Weidman, former middleweight champ, and that dude is the strongest mama jama I have ever seen in my life. I’ve stood beside Stylebender. He’s a good head taller than me and [has] crazy reach.

“I think it would be fun to train with him, maybe get a sparring match. But, to fight that guy? I don’t know, man. That’s tough. I mean, with a guy that fights with range and he’s so good and kind of like I do. But his range is so much farther out than mine. He’s got the reach out of not just his legs, but his hands. And for me to get on, get on the inside of that will be very, very difficult.”

Thompson Is Down to Spar Adesanya, But Wouldn’t Fight Him in a Professional MMA Bout

Wonderboy further reiterated that he’d be open to lacing up 16-ounce gloves to get some rounds in with Adesanya. But, fans are “crazy” if they think he should fight him in the UFC, even though Thompson admitted it would be “fun.”

“I would love to like spar with him,” Wonderboy continued. “We gotta like film that or something and put that out there. But I’ve seen a lot of people ask me that like, ‘Wonderboy vs. Stylebender?’ Y’all crazy… Y’all crazy, I don’t wanna fight that guy. Are you kidding me? That would be a fun [fight] though.”

Wonderboy has been linked to a contest with fellow striker Michel Pereira for UFC 289 on June 10 as part of the promotion’s return to Vancouver, Canada. For Adesanya, he earned his 185-pound strap back last month when he toppled Alex Pereira, the man who took it from him in November.

Wonderboy Is a Two-Time UFC Welterweight Title Challenger, Still Ranked in the Top 10

Thompson is a welterweight top-10 staple. Wonderboy, who turned 40 in February, sits at No. 7 in the official UFC standings and boasts a professional mixed martial arts record of 17-6-1. He bounced back from a two-fight skid in his last outing when he put on a striking masterclass against Kevin Holland in December, which led to a fourth-round corner stoppage.

Thompson still has the dream of hoisting UFC gold — something he’s had two cracks at earning. He fought then-welterweight champion Tyron Woodley twice, in 2016 and in 2017, but the matches were ruled a draw and then a majority decision for Woodley, respectively.

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