Stephen Thompson waits for the start of his fight against UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley

As UFC 296 approaches, Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson is gearing up for what he believes will be a showcase of his unique fighting style against the formidable Shavkat Rakhmonov.

During the pre-fight press conference, Thompson shared his thoughts on the upcoming bout and why he thinks he’ll be a tough puzzle for Rakhmonov to solve.

Thompson, known for his striking prowess and karate-based style, acknowledged Rakhmonov’s impressive record but remained confident in his own abilities.

“I feel like I’m the puzzle still in the division that everybody still has to try to figure out,” Thompson stated, emphasizing his evolving skill set and experience in the Octagon.

Stephen Thompson kicks Vicente Luque at UFC 244
Stephen Thompson kicks Vicente Luque at UFC 244 (Zuffa LLC)

Reflecting on his preparation, Thompson mentioned his long training camp since April and the importance of recovery and adaptation. “I’ve trained with some really good guys for this camp and over the years, and I’ve definitely prepared myself for this one,” he said, highlighting his readiness for Rakhmonov’s diverse skill set.

Thompson also touched on the significance of this fight for his career, seeing it as an opportunity to prove himself worthy of another title run. “Who better to prove myself and show the UFC and the world that I’m ready for a title shot another title run than against Shavkat Rakhmonov,” he remarked, acknowledging Rakhmonov’s ranking and reputation as a future champion.

Despite being the underdog, Thompson sees this as a chance to demonstrate his continued relevance in the welterweight division. “Everybody’s looking at my age right now… but I feel like if I go out there and win this, man, I’m either getting the number one or the next title shot,” he expressed, undeterred by the odds against him.

Thompson’s strategy revolves around his distinctive fighting style, which has historically posed challenges for opponents. His ability to adapt and evolve during fights makes him a formidable opponent for Rakhmonov.

“There’s going to be a lot of adapting out there I feel because I feel like he’s one of those type of fighters that he evolves when he fights,” Thompson noted, prepared for the dynamic nature of the matchup.

As UFC 296 nears, Thompson’s confidence and readiness are palpable. His unique style and experience could indeed prove to be the complex puzzle that Rakhmonov has yet to solve in the Octagon.

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