Stephen Thompson is the newest UFC fighter to criticize Leon Edwards for planning to enter the middleweight division and pursue his dream to be a two-weigh class champ. As Thompson noted, “There are some really great, interesting fights at 170,” demanding the champion clear out his own division first before moving to another one.

Thompson is not the first to voice this out. Last month, light heavyweight fighter Anthony Smith commented on the matter, saying that Edwards must first face his division’s contenders. “Lionheart” added that “Rocky” only wants to move because Khamzat Chimaev is not the current middleweight champion.

“Of course, he’s going to want to move up right now,” Smith said earlier. “If Khamzat was the champion, I don’t know if we’d see Leon running to middleweight so quickly, but I think we have a champion in Sean Strickland that he believes matches up well with him, and it stylistically makes a lot of sense. I agree with some of the frustration. Listen, if I had a world title, maybe I’d do the same sh*t.”

Thompson is echoing the same view, naming the fighters worthy of a bout against the current champion. In line with that, the No. 6-ranked welterweight fighter shared that Edwards must be only after the “money fight.”

“I think that’s crap, because there is, man! There’s a ton of people,” Thompson told Submission Radio. “I think it’s smart for him. He’s only been the champ for one fight, and after those two fights, I feel like if you’re going to go up to 185, give the guys at 170 a chance to get up. Have at least two or three, four fights before you go on. Clean the division out. He hasn’t done that.

“Clean the division out and then go up and fight at 185 because there are some really great, interesting fights at 170. You’ve got me, you’ve got Shavkat, you’ve got Ian (Machado) Garry, who’s undefeated, working his way up, as well. There’s so many other guys that you can fight at 170. Come on, bro. I think he’s just looking for a money fight at this point, which is why he’s saying that. But I think he spoke too soon, because there’s some really good guys in the welterweight division.”

Thompson also likes to consider himself as one of Edwards’ worthy challengers. In the past, the fighter made several callouts to the champ, but none came to fruition. Now, Thompson is attempting another one but said it is not for the title but his overdue fight against Edwards.

“The guy that I’m going to be calling out is whoever is champ,” Thompson said. “And I believe it’s going to be Leon. It’s not for the title. I’m not going out there and calling out, ‘I want the next title shot.’ I want whoever’s champ. And as of right now, before that fight, it’s going to be Leon. I’m going to be calling out Leon. I’m going to let everybody know: UFC, I’m coming for Leon.”

The two fighters will be at UFC 296 on December 17. Edwards will face Colby Covington for his second title defense, while Thompson will fight Shavkat Rakhmonov. In case both of them win, Thompson plans to make another callout to Edwards.

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