This past Saturday in the co-main event of UFC 264, we saw a pivotal matchup in the welterweight division. Two former title challengers battled it out as Gilbert Burns (20-4) took on Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson (16-5-1).
For Wonderboy, this was the first time the UFC was giving him an opponent ranked above him since his title fights with Tyron Woodley. Over the last couple of years, Thompson has had to play the gatekeeper role at 170 pounds.
Wonderboy was being looked at as one of the guys who could potentially give Kamaru Usman problems. Thompson’s unique style and movement make him a tough puzzle for anyone in the UFC‘s welterweight division.
The big question going into this fight would be whether or not Burns could take Wonderboy down. In the first round, Burns was able to. However, in the second round, Wonderboy kept it standing and controlled the range.
Heading into the final round, all three judges at UFC 264 had it even. Wonderboy rocked Burns early and was dominating the standup. However, Burns got the fight to the mat and controlled Wonderboy for the entire second half which gave him the decision win.
What’s next after UFC 264?
This was a really tough loss for Wonderboy Thompson. The fight was right there for him if he could have just stayed on his feet in the third round at UFC 264. The fight looked like it was trending in the right direction before the final takedown.
Now, Wonderboy goes back to the drawing board. It is worth noting that I don’t believe Wonderboy really loses a lot of ground after Saturday night. In fact, in the updated UFC rankings, Wonderboy is still ranked fourth in the division.
To me, the 38 year old still has plenty in the tank and I could still see him getting one more crack at the title in the future under the right circumstances. So, where does he go from here. Well, one potential option would be a rematch with Jorge Masvidal (35-15).
Wonderboy defeated Masvidal and Gamebred has long talked about them fighting again. However, I think the UFC has other plans for Masvidal. If I’m going to pick out a guy who I think is the most realistic and a perfect opponent, I’m going to say Neil Magny (25-8).
Magny has won four out of five and he’s currently ranked eight in the division. He needs a top opponent and Wonderboy is going to need a dance partner. Pair the two up and the winner is right in the mix.