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Stephen Thompson says UFC discussing South Carolina debut, and he wants Robbie Lawler in headliner



Stephen Thompson hopes to cash in on Dana White’s word with a main-event opportunity in his home state.

Following Thompson’s loss to Darren Till at UFC Fight Night 130 in May, the UFC president said the company would “do everything we can to give (Thompson) what he wants” going forward after he accepted the bout against a significantly overweight Till.

Thompso said he suggested the UFC bring an event to his home state of South Carolina, where the promotion has never hosted a fight card. The 35-year-old said White was receptive to the idea, and it could take place in Greenville.

“We took him up on (his offer),” Thompson told MMAjunkie. “We chatted back and forth, and I think that’s something they’re definitely excited about and looking forward to. Hopefully we can get something going by the end of the year. If not that, the beginning of next year.”

Thompson, No. 5 in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA welterweight rankings, had his first three pro MMA fights in Greenville (pop. 70,000). He hasn’t fought in the state since July 2011 but thinks his connection to the area could pack a massive crowd at Bon Secours Wellness Arena, which has a capacity of nearly 16,000.

“We have an awesome venue here,” Thompson said. “It seats a hundred more than the (MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas). I did my very first MMA fight at the arena, and we packed it out. I know we can. That’s something we’re just trying to work on. We want some more fights down south. It’s something we’re talking about with Dana White, and we want to make that happen. If not, it would be cool to fight again in Madison Square Garden.”

With just one victory in his past four fights, Thompson said he’s open to almost any matchup. He’s currently rehabbing a torn MCL suffered in the Till fight and said he’s approximately four weeks away from a complete recovery. He could then begin working toward an official booking.

There’s one name that stands out to Thompson, though, and that’s former UFC champ Robbie Lawler (28-12 MMA, 13-6 UFC). Thompson first mentioned No. 7-ranked Lawler as a desired matchup back when he was holding the UFC belt, but now that they’re both coming off a loss and injury layoff, he thinks the fight makes perfect sense.

“With Robbie Lawler, he’s coming off of a knee injury,” Thompson said. “I was just thinking, ‘Robbie Lawler’s out for a little bit. I might be out for a little bit. Let’s call for Robbie Lawler and maybe the timing will be fairly right.’

“Hopefully we can fight each other.”

For more on the UFC schedule, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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