Former UFC welterweight title challenger Stephen Thompson’s earlier reluctance to face Shavkat Rakhmonov has appeared to be dismantled.
Thompson was supposed to face Michel Pereira at UFC 291 before Pereira badly missed weight; canceling the fight and removing Thompson from the card. He’s been working on a possible financial resolution with the UFC after being pulled from UFC 291 for something outside of his control.
In the meantime, Thompson is focused on returning to the Octagon for the chance to continue to build off of his winning momentum. He hasn’t fought since defeating Kevin Holland in Orlando last December.
Thompson has publicly expressed his displeasure in facing fighters like Rakhmonov who will likely grapple him, although he’s apparently turned 180 degrees on the idea.
Stephen Thompson vs. Shavkat Rakhmonov Targeted For UFC 296
In a recent tweet, Thompson revealed he and Rakhmonov are now on a collision course.
UFC offered and I’ve accepted, @Rakhmonov1994 let’s close out the year strong. Dec 16 can’t wait
— “Wonderboy” Thompson (@WonderboyMMA) September 22, 2023
“UFC offered and I’ve accepted, [Shavkat] let’s close out the year strong,” Thompson tweeted Friday. “Dec 16 can’t wait.”
It didn’t take long for Rakhmonov to respond on social media.
Let’s go! 👊🏼 https://t.co/YN7my3cg2G
— Shavkat “Nomad” Rakhmonov (@Rakhmonov1994) September 22, 2023
“Let’s go!” Rakhmonov replied.
Rakhmonov is unbeaten in his MMA career and most recently defeated Geoff Neal at UFC 285. He has also finished the likes of Neil Magny and Alex Oliveira during his UFC tenure.
Thompson bounced back nicely against Holland after back-to-back losses to Belal Muhammad and Gilbert Burns. He’s hoping to make one last title push before hanging up the MMA gloves.
While nothing has been formally announced, it could be a matter of time until Thompson vs. Rakhmonov is added to the final UFC pay-per-view of 2023.
UFC 296 is headlined by a welterweight title matchup between Leon Edwards and Colby Covington.
Read Also: Michael Bisping Reacts To Colby Covington Targeting Middleweight Superfight Against Sean Strickland