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Interview: Stephen Thompson wants title shot after Johny Hendricks win

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“Wonderboy” discusses the importance of his upcoming bout with “Bigg Rigg” at UFC 196, as well as the improvements he’s made during his three-year stint in ZUFFA.

There’s no way to go but up for No. 8-ranked UFC Welterweight Stephen Thompson.

After notching his fifth-straight victory inside the Octagon, Thompson was linked to a bout with surging contender Neil Magny, but after the latter took a contest on short notice, “Wonderboy” signed on to face former 170-pound champion Johny Hendricks at the UFC 196 pay-per-view (PPV) in Feb. 2016.

No disrespect to Mr. Magny, who’s a quality combatant in his own right, but a shot at gold is quite important for Thompson and he has the best chance of getting there by dispatching “Bigg Rigg.”

“He’s been in five-round fights with Robbie Lawler just taking shots, so I know he’s a tough guy,” Thompson told MMAmania. “Hopefully after this fight with Johny Hendricks I’ll be up for the title.”

Thompson’s not at the top of the mountain just yet, but if the improvements in his mixed martial arts (MMA) skills are any indication, he’s more than ready to take a step up in competition.

A formerly undefeated kickboxing star, Thompson made waves in his UFC debut by flooring Dan Stittgen with a head kick in Feb. 2012. Since then, the 32-year-old has compiled five more wins (three finishes), compared to just one loss.

Thompson’s lone slip up came at the hands of pressure fighter Matt Brown.

“I learned a lot during the Matt Brown fight. I think I’m a different fighter than I was then, but I’m blessed to be where I’m at,” Thompson said.

Though he was the more accurate of the two, Thompson was taken down five times by “The Immortal” and ground control time can be very precious.

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Source:: mma mania