Stephen Thompson’s next fight will be against Shavkat Rakhmonov at UFC 296 in Las Vegas on December 16th.
The 40-year-old Thompson had been set to fight Michel Pereira at UFC 291 back in July, but the fight was cancelled after his opponent missed weight by 3lbs and ‘Wonderboy’ refused to agree to a catchweight.
So the No.7 ranked Thompson hasn’t fought since a 4th round TKO victory over Kevin Holland in December of last year, which had brought him back into the win column after suffering back-to-back decision losses to Gilbert Burns and Belal Muhammad.
Thompson had been angling for a fight against former champ Kamaru Usman next, but instead he’ll face off against one of the division’s rising stars in the 6th ranked Rakhmonov, who is currently undefeated in his 17-0 career.
That record includes five wins in a row so far since joining the UFC, with all of the 28-year-old’s wins in the Octagon having come inside the distance, culminating in submission finishes against Neil Magny and Geoff Neal.
Thompson vs. Rakhmonov joins a UFC 296 card that will be headlined by a welterweight title fight between Leon Edwards and Colby Covington, while flyweight champion Alexandre Pantoja locks horns with Brandon Royval in the co-main event and Paddy Pimblett returns from injury to fight Tony Ferguson.