Stephen Thompson was a guest on Submission Radio recently, coming back on to the program to discuss his UFC 217 bout with Jorge Masvidal.

Stephen’s thoughts on the current next contenders in the welterweight division, like Rafael dos Anjos and Carlos Condit

“RDA, of course he was the champion in the 155 division, he moved up to 170 but he’s a huge name and he’s a phenomenal fighter. He’s been doing well in the 170 division, you know, beating Saffiedine, which I was there actually cageside watching them fight, which is very impressive, and of course his last win. So I’m pretty sure he’s ranked pretty high right now, in the top five or six, so he’s really cool to see where he’s – and this is what makes the 170 division so exciting, because you don’t know what’s going to happen and it’s just kind of up in the air right now. You know, me and Robbie Lawler are going back and forth with the number one seed. I’m number one seed, then he’s number one seed, then we’re both number one seed and he’s back to number one seed. And you got all these ridiculous fighters coming up. You know, you got Mike Perry doing work, finishing dudes in the 170 division. You got Carlos Condit coming back, fighting Neil Magny. And of course, Robbie Lawler, who’s a monster coming off a win over Cowboy Cerrone. So it’s very exciting right now in the 170 division. So man, I got a bunch of guys and a lot of studying to do cause I could be facing any one of these guys in the near future. So I’m watching everyone very closely, which is exciting for me. And a lot of these guys are stand-up fighters. Obviously, Jorge Masvidal is known for his striking, his Muay Thai, he’s very well-rounded. People don’t understand, they haven’t gone back and watched some of his fights. His fight against Paul Daley in Bellator, he outwrestled him. You know, if you watch his fight with Demian Maia, his grappling is very good. So man, I’m ready for fireworks come November 4th.”

If anyone from the UFC have confirmed that Thompson could get a third title shot if he beats Masvidal

“I haven’t really talked to anybody about that with the UFC. The only thing that I know is that I’m facing off against Jorge Masvidal. But what I believe I have to do come November 4th is, to be able to stay for that title contention, you know, to be able to fight for the title, is put on a good show and put out a good W, an exciting W come November 4th against Jorge Masvidal. We’ve been kind of going back and forth with me and Robbie Lawler, I was ranked number one, then he’s number one, then we’re both number one. So hopefully a good win over this – you know, I understand Tyron is out for a little while, so hopefully we’ll be able to fight against Robbie Lawler, maybe for an interim welterweight title against him for that belt. There’s also word RDA will want him to fight for the title too, so I really don’t know. I gotta go out there and face Jorge first and see what happens there before I can think about really what’s going on next. But it is in the back of mind.”

If Thompson sees any holes in Masvidal’s striking game

“Well, I don’t want to put anything out there, he’s probably got guys listening to this podcast (laughs) and stuff, but he’s a great Muay Thai stylist and his clinch work is one of the best. I mean, he’s one of the guys that goes out there and he just brings it, man and he defeats a lot of these guys because he’s a very tough opponent and he just outworks them. You know, his cardio. He’s got cardio for days. He’s been a 155’er, so he’s not really big at 170, but he’s got cardio for days and breaks a lot of these guys because of that. His clinch work is one of the top in the welterweight division, probably in the UFC, and I haven’t seen anybody better in his clinch than Anderson Silva, who’s known for that. So, he’s got great knees and great elbows and I think he’s gonna press forward like he normally does and try to get me into that clinch, maybe take me down here and there because usually everybody tries to do that against me. But he’s very well-rounded, so I gotta be on point every step of the way when I step out there against him November 4th. And I’ve been working religiously on my wrestling and my Jiu Jitsu just in case the fight goes there. I’m ready for wherever it goes.”

“A lot of fight fans are more excited about our fight than anything else, so we both have responsibility to go out there and really put on a show. And unlike Tyron, this guy comes forward, he comes to fight and it’s got fireworks written all over it.”

“You’re gonna see more of Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson than you saw in my last two fights against Tyron. I love it when guys come forward, which is something you didn’t see during the Tyron Woodley fight. But that’s just the way Masvidal is, he comes walking forward, he’s not afraid to press the action, which enables me to use my arsenal a little bit better, to use my kicks, to use my angles. So yeah, man, you’re gonna see a more exciting fight from me November 4th.”

If it’s a relief being on a MSG card but not having the pressures of being a co-main event like last time

“It is kind of a relief to me. You know, going into that fight at Madison Square Garden, it was the very first one there, so there was a lot of media obligations that we had to go through for that. This time I’m not the main event, we are the first fight on the pay-per-view card, but you don’t have all the media obligations anymore, so we can just literally focus on the fight. And it’s definitely an honor and privilege to be able to face Jorge Masvidal at Madison Square Garden in New York city because it’s a home away from home. I spend a lot of time there anyway, but just to be back there and put on another show in front of the fans. You know, my last fight there I fought a draw, we got ‘fight of the night’ for that fight, so going back there and getting a W in my home away from home would just be unbelievable. So I’m training literally as hard I can for this fight to be able to put on a great performance for everybody in New York city. And man, it is different from the last one because I can just go out there and focus on the fight and not have to worry about the media stuff that comes along with it.”