Stephen Thompson reaffirms stance on fighting grapplers in response to Shavkat Rakhmonov’s callout

Shavkat Rakhmonov has previously had a callout rejected by JStephen Thompson due to the Kazakh’s strong grappling abilities.

Rakhmonov recently defeated Geoff Neal at UFC 285 to earn his fifth consecutive stoppage victory inside the octagon, bringing his pristine record to 17-0. After Thompson’s victory at UFC 285, “Nomad” repeated his callout to him.
When Rakhmonov faced Neal, he put on a tough showing, mostly using his stand-up against the “Handz of Steel” after failing to get takedowns. The Kazakh superstar took a lot of hard hits that night, but he also turned the tables and damaged Neal with his own strikes, demonstrating that he is more than just a grappler.

Just after UFC 285 and in response to a tweet from Rakhmonov, Thompson stated:

“With all due respect, but a 0/4 takedown record doesn’t disqualify you as a grappler! Congratulation on your success! Remember that you prevailed via surrender! But lots of love!

With his victory against Geoff Neal at UFC 285, Shavkat Rakhmonov matched Serghei Pavlovich, a heavyweight contender, for the longest active finishing streak. A callout to Colby Covington was also made by “Nomad,” who is currently rated No. 9 in the welterweight division, in his post-fight octagon interview.

Why doesn’t Stephen Thompson want to fight Shavkat Rakhmonov?

After his TKO victory against Kevin Holland in December, Stephen Thompson got his winning streak back on track. Previous to that, “Wonderboy” lost two previous fights by nearly similar decisions to seasoned grapplers Belal Muhammad and Gilbert Burns, who repeatedly forced him to the ground.

Thompson was reportedly given the chance to face Shavkat Rakhmonov before his match with Holland. Wonderboy was frank in his rejection of the notion and his admission that he must improve his grappling if he is to compete against a wrestler as skilled as Rakhmonov. The 40-year-old said in an earlier interview with

“It makes no sense for me to compete against another heavy grappler. Let me continue honing my craft, especially in terms of wrestling.

The previous title challenger continued:

“They [UFC] were pushing it, but it simply doesn’t make sense, and the fans also weren’t interested in watching it. Give Stephen a striker, someone who will strike beside him, they yell. That particular fight doesn’t interest me right now, but it is what it is.

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