UFC on ESPN+ 6 Preview

ufc-espn+6Things are different in the welterweight division with a new champion on top and there is no fighter that will feel that more than Stephen Thompson.

Thompson has always been one of the best welterweights in the world as his awkward style has given some great fighters a lot of problems.

His style is familiar as it looks like a bigger and longer version of Lyoto Machida with a karate background that makes him tougher to solve.

As he worked his way through the division it was all but assumed that he was going to be fighting for a title and possibly taking the title.

That is where the problems came though as Thompson ran into Tyron Woodley who proved to be someone that had just enough to shut down that style.

Thompson and Woodley were built as two of the best in the division and when they faced off fireworks were expected.

The fight fell far short of the billing as they fought to a draw in 2016 in what was considered one of the worst fights of the year.

There was little to no action in the fight and neither really separated themselves as the clear winner but Woodley took home the belt at the end of the day.

Although the UFC and the fans didn’t really want to see the fight again the fact that it was a draw meant that there had to be a rematch.

Once again both fighters put on a boring fight unable to figure each other out enough to really take advantage.

This time Woodley took the majority decision win and for the UFC it was enough to essentially ignore the fact that Thompson remained one of the top contenders.

They never wanted to see the fight again and the fans were completely on board but that put Thompson into a terrible spot.

Although he remained one of the best fighters in the division the fact that nobody wanted him to fight Woodley meant he wasn’t about to get a title shot.

All of the contenders in the division would have to lose to Woodley before he ever got another shot.

For a fighter, that is a terrible spot as he essentially isn’t fighting for anything having to extend a win streak far beyond normal to just get a shot.mma-sidebar.fw

That makes it tougher to get up for fights and leaves to no motivation to actually take a fight and continue on his path.

This all change at the beginning of the month though as the welterweight division was shocked by the result of the latest title fight.

Woodley took a loss to a young Kamaru Usman in a dominant win by the Nigerian that completely changed the division.

All of a sudden the division gained some new life and all of the fighters who had already been beaten by Woodley gained another chance.

That change at the top means everything for Thompson as he now has a clear path to the title that he hasn’t seen since 2016.

He will need to find that style and ability again as he begins his 2019 with a big feature fight that could set him up for a serious run this year.

After his loss to Woodley, he got back on the winning track against Jorge Masvidal but took a loss to Darren Till in his next fight.

He has not been back in the Octagon since that loss but now is his chance to show the UFC and the fans that he’s still got it.

It is going to be a tough task though as he takes on an always dangerous Anthony Pettis who is trying to find his consistency in the welterweight division.

Pettis has always been capable of great things as his athleticism and creativity brings excitement to every fight.

He hasn’t been able to take that and make something of that talent with inconsistency being the story for him over the last few years.

He is 4-5 since 2016 with a .500 record in the last two years losing to great fighters and beating some big names.

He hasn’t been able to get any momentum but now has a chance to beat a big name and try to get started on a run towards the title.

With a new champion on top, the scramble to the title is going to get interesting as everyone continues to look for a title shot.

ufc-espn+6

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