Stephen Thompson is ready to return after a year out of competition at UFC Vegas 17

Stephen Thompson will be stepping back into the UFC Octagon at UFC Vegas 17 after a year rehabbing injuries.

Two-time UFC welterweight title challenger Stephen Thompson is looking for another shot at gold. ‘Wonderboy’ will be stepping back into the UFC Octagon after a year away to continue his run at the coveted UFC belt. Thompson will be taking on Geoff Neal as the main event of UFC Vegas 17 on Dec. 19. This event will be the last of 2020, but 2021 is looking bright for Thompson who had to take a year off to heal up from injuries.

“I’ve been out for a year,” Thompson said as part of the UFC Vegas 17 media day. “I broke both my hands a year ago and the whole pandemic thing, of course, everyone’s been out for the year and quarantining but where I come from the little small town of Simpsonville it hasn’t been that bad. We had to close the gym down for maybe two months. We had to innovate and do some online classes and things but when you have access to a gym it’s kind of hard not to stay in shape, it’s hard not to still improve. Even though I was injured for a while there was always something I could do. Working on my kicks, working on my movements, working on my wrestling. Nothing slowed down for me. Helping Chris Weidman get ready for his fight helped too. During the whole pandemic, it’s giving me a chance to heal up but my skill sets have improved tremendously.”

Sitting in the number five spot of the official UFC rankings puts Thompson in a good position for a title run. Having had the shot twice with no success, other than a draw to Tyron Woodley, Thompson has been termed a “gatekeeper” for the division. This doesn’t bother Thompson who knows where he stands and where he wants to go.

“I’m 37 years old I’m gonna be 38 in February but I feel like I’m 25 and still improving every day,” Thompson said. “You know, I came into this game late and I haven’t taken a ton of damage the only time I’ve ever been knocked out was with Anthony. I feel fine, I feel awesome, I know that I could be champion in 2021 and that is my goal.”

UFC Vegas 17 takes place on Saturday, Dec. 19, 2020, live from UFC Apex in Las Vegas, NV. Follow along with FanSided, who is on-site, for all your live news and highlights.

Published at Fri, 18 Dec 2020 21:36:43 +0000

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