Maybe Stephen Thompson and Anthony Pettis have a future as matchmakers.
Following a social media exchange that saw Pettis asking fans if he should step up to welterweight to fight Thompson, and Thompson welcoming Pettis to try, MMA Fighting’s Marc Raimondi confirmed with sources that the two have verbally agreed to fight at 170 pounds on March 23 at a UFC on ESPN+ show in Nashville, Tenn.
The agreement was first reported by ESPN.
Pettis (21-8) has not competed heavier than 170 pounds since prior to making his debut with World Extreme Cagefighting back in June 2009. “Showtime” became one of that promotion’s biggest stars, capturing its lightweight title before later joining the UFC roster and accomplishing that same feat with a submission of Benson Henderson at UFC 164.
The Milwaukee native recorded one successful defense before dropping the belt to Rafael dos Anjos and has failed to put together a win streak since, alternating wins and losses in his last seven fights. Pettis’s last outing saw him lose via TKO (corner stoppage) to Tony Ferguson at UFC 229 in October.
A two-time welterweight title challenger, Thompson (14-3-1) most recently fought last May, losing a five-round unanimous decision to Darren Till in the main event of UFC Liverpool. “Wonderboy” is currently in a 1-2-1 stretch that includes a majority draw and a majority decision loss in a pair of championship bouts opposite Tyron Woodley.