Stephen Thompson is expecting to hit the mat with Geoff Neal.
Thompson, who’s widely considered one of the sport’s most high-level strikers, faces Neal in the UFC Fight Night 183 main event on Dec. 19.
The fight night takes place at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas and streams on ESPN+.
Neal gave “Wonderboy” (15-4-1 MMA, 10-4-1 UFC) props by claiming that he will take his crown of best welterweight striker, but Thompson sees Neal (13-2 MMA, 5-0 UFC) switching up his game plan eventually.
“At some point, I think he’s gonna use his wrestling,” Thompson told MMA Junkie. “He’s gonna use his strength against me, maybe get me up against the cage, use the cage to try and take me down or to use his dirty boxing. So I got great guys to help me prepare for this fight. Wherever the fight goes, I’m gonna be ready.”
Thompson has been preparing for his upcoming fight with one of his longtime training partners, former UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman, who’s a two-time NCAA Division I All-American.
“To have him in my corner, who’s just a massive 185’er to begin with and such a high-level wrestler, it’s just amazing to have him really right up the street,” Thompson said. “He lives in South Carolina now, right up the road, so I get him whenever I want him now. So it’s great just to be able to have him wrestle me and me trying to get back up.”
“In sparring, going from striking to wrestling with him, (it’s) just extra confidence because that could be how the fight goes with Geoff Neal. I know he’s looking for that. I know he’s looking for a takedown at some point so like I said, it’s great to have him out here, and I’m ready wherever the fight goes.”