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Stephen Thompson says he deserves title shot more than Leon Edwards

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Former UFC welterweight title challenger Stephen Thompson thinks he should be getting a title shot before Leon Edwards.Stephen Thompson | UFC

The UFC Vegas 21 main event this past Saturday was supposed to provide some clarity in the welterweight title picture. Longtime contender Leon Edwards returned from a 19-month hiatus and was assured a title shot with an impressive win. Unfortunately for him and his opponent Belal Muhammad, the bout ended in a no-contest when he poked Muhammad in the eye in the second round and Muhammad was unable to continue.

No, Leon Edwards, you can't eye poke your way to a UFC title shot – The Athletic

Despite the non-finish, Edwards said afterward he is not interested in a rematch with Muhammad because he feels he was winning the fight and that the eight consecutive wins he compiled before UFC Vegas 21 give him a strong case to challenge current welterweight titleholder, Kamaru Usman.

Stephen Thompson believes he deserves a title shot

UFC takeaways -- Stephen Thompson proved he's still a title threat; who should he fight next?

Thompson, a two-time title challenger, explained why he thinks he should be the one to fight Usman next.

“With the eye poke, there’s only one thing to do and that’s to run it back,” Thompson said on his “What’s Up Everybody?!” podcast. “I know Edwards is saying he deserves the title next, but you can’t get the title after being gone for two years and then having a no-contest with a poke to the eye. Come on.”

He continued, “I know Edwards is like, ‘No, man, I want to fight for the title,’ but come on, dude, you haven’t fought. I deserve the title more than you deserve it at this point. I’m just saying, you know what I mean? Come on, guys. I’m the only guy that Usman hasn’t fought.”

With welterweight champion, Kamaru Usman’s next fight booked against Jorge Masvidal in the main event of UFC 261 on April 24, neither Thompson nor Edwards will get their wish. Both men have been on a collision course, with Thompson calling Edwards out in the past, and that just might be Edwards’ best shot at getting a crack at Usman, with Colby Covington continuously dismissing him.

“He looked crisp, he looked sharp, he looked fast,” Thompson said. “That’s the best shape I’ve seen Edwards in. … He was looking shredded. His fighting skills, he had great timing, he looked very calm. He had Belal backing up, so I had him winning the fight up until the point where he poked him in the eye and he couldn’t continue. But anything can happen. Belal was saying he was just getting warmed up.”

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