It didn't seem to make much since to Stephen "Wonderboy" Thompson, but former UFC Lightweight Champion Anthony Pettis has the fight with him that he wanted.
According to ESPN's Ariel Helwani, a fight between Thompson and Pettis has reached a verbal agreement for a planned UFC Fight Night event in Nashville. It will be Pettis' first attempt at competing as a welterweight.
Pettis is fresh off of an October loss to Tony Ferguson, and has alternated wins and losses since 2016. He's been unable to capture the magic of his 2010 to 2014 run that saw him capture both the WEC and UFC Lightweight titles.
Thompson has also seen a career slow-down, winning only one fight since his UFC title fights with Tyron Woodley. He most recently competed last may in a losing effort to Darren Till.
Stephen Thompson vs. Anthony Pettis at 170 pounds is verbally agreed to for the March 23 fight night event, which is expected to be in Nashville. Fight isn’t signed just yet but expected to be finalized shortly. Story coming to ESPN in a bit.— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) January 15, 2019
Fightful's James Lynch actually spoke with Thompson about this fight at length last week, and "Wonderboy" was perplexed by Pettis' desire to move up in weight.
“I’m like, why is this guy calling me out? It just doesn’t make sense, he’s fought at 145…he’s got a name…yes…he fought at 155. (He) fought Tony Ferguson, lost to Tony Ferguson not to long ago. Next thing you know…I was actually on a plane to Denver, getting ready to do some snowboarding out there and (when) I land on the plane, I look at my phone…my phones blowing up with the fans and stuff telling me to fight Anthony Pettis. I’m just looking for a fight, this fight may or may not happen…I’m not sure yet. I just want to step into the Octagon again, so I think fans have been getting back to me saying they want to see me fight and they miss me. So hopefully, this thing will happen. He’s a great striking, I think its something the fans want to see, but I don’t think its something that Pettis is gonna like. He is a 155er, I think I’m just going to go out there and crush him. I think I’d finish him in the first round to be honest with you, I really do. I think I’d go out there and put it on him, I think its gonna be a first round finish. I always prepare for the best…for the best Anthony Pettis, for the hardest five minute rounds. If I do fight the man, hopefully its the main event or a fight night or something. I always prepare for the hardest five, five minute rounds no matter who it is. I know a lot of people would be thinking that I’m taking Pettis lightly, but I’m definitely not man…he’s tricky. The guys tricky man, he’s go some good Tae Kwan Do kicks and he’s put some really good people away. His jiu-jitsu is…I think underestimated and he submitted some really high level guys in his division. Maybe he’s thinking he’s gonna take me down and submit me, but its not gonna happen man. Tyron (Woodley) had a hard time taking me down during the fight and so I think he’s in for a rude awakening, but I’ll welcome him with open arms to the 170 pound division,”
UFC Fight Night Nashville takes place on March 23, 2019 from a venue yet to be determined in Nashville, Tennesee.