Stephen Thompson is not expecting anything less than gruelling five five-minute rounds in his UFC 205 co-main event, the welterweight championship fight, against Tyron Woodley on 12 November.
The 33-year-old has been in imperious form possessing a UFC record of 8-1 and a Mixed Martial Arts record of 13-1. He has been undefeated since his UFC 145 loss to Matt Brown in 2012, which was also the only defeat in his career.
However, facing the reigning welterweight champion Woodley, who is known for his strong right hand, will be one of the most arduous tasks in the title challenger's career. Notably, the number one welterweight fighter, who returned to the Octagon after a 16-month break, snatched the championship from Robbie Lawler in July via knockout as early as in the first round.
Thomson is wary of Woodley's knockout capabilities and reveals he will make best use of his footwork to try and stay clear of "one-hitters" keep the fight standing. The southpaw thus wants to "Muhammad Ali" his higher-ranked opponent, who has a 16-3 and 6-2 MMA and UFC records, respectively.
"He [Woodley] is definitely got some one-hitter quitter power, as we saw when he fought Robbie Lawler. It took one shot. Obviously I want to stay away from that right hand. But he's not only a good striker, he's a good wrestler," Thompson was quoted as saying by the MMAJunkie.
"Keeping my footwork, always moving and making it difficult for him to be on my legs and just try to hit and move. That's one thing I can do, try to Muhammad Ali him.
"I'm ready for five, five-minute rounds and that's what I expect going out there. I expect the best Tyron Woodley when I go out there and that's what I'm prepared for.
"I never go out there looking for the knockouts. It is one of those things you got to let happen."
While Thompson is focussed on his UFC 205 fight, Woodley has already sent warning bells to UFC featherweight champion Conor McGregor, who is reportedly eyeing a fight with the winner of the welterweight clash between the two.
Notably, the headline fight of UFC 205 will be between UFC lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez and McGregor.
"Well first off I think Conor is a smart individual and he knows that fighting me is not going to be good for his health. I just do not really see him wanting that fight," Woodley had said, as quoted by MMA Fighting.