A welterweight clash between former champion Johny Hendricks and Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson is set to serve as UFC 196’s co-main event on February 6th in Las Vegas.
Hendricks was last seen at UFC 185 in March where he claimed a unanimous decision victory over Matt Brown. After that he was slated to fight Tyron Woodley at UFC in October, but ‘Bigg Rigg’ was forced to pull out on the day of the weigh-ins due to having suffered a problematic weight cut that resulted in him going to hospital with an intestinal blockage and kidney stones.
Given that this was not the first time that Hendricks struggled getting down to the welterweight limit there was talk that the UFC would now force him to move up to middleweight, but he’s since done a test-cut to prove he can still get down to 171lbs safely and so he’s been granted another opportunity to fight in the division where he held the belt as recently as a year ago.
For the No.8 ranked Thompson, this is undoubtedly the biggest fight of his career to date and comes after a five fight winning streak in the division that culminated with a first round knockout of Jake Ellenberger at the TUF 21 Finale back in July.
‘Wonderboy’s’ eye-catching striking talents are clear for all to see, but he’ll need more than that to mix it up with the best the welterweight division has to offer, and this fight should be a true test of just how far his all-round MMA game has come.
Hendricks Vs Thompson joins a UFC 196 line-up that will be headlined by a heavyweight title rematch between Fabricio Werdum and Cain Velasquez, while another heavyweight encounter between Roy Nelson and Jared Rosholt has also been announced for the main card.