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Shavkat Rakhmonov Eyes UFC Title Shot, But Focuses on Stephen Thompson Showdown

In a quest to affirm his readiness for a UFC title shot, Shavkat Rakhmonov braces himself for a pivotal clash against Stephen "Wonderboy" Thompson this Saturday at UFC 296, where victory could propel him closer to a championship opportunity in the fiercely competitive welterweight division.

Rakhmonov, undefeated since his debut in the UFC, remains undeterred by the challenge posed by Thompson. Despite already asserting his belief in being championship material, the Kazakh fighter approaches the bout with the renowned veteran as another chance to underscore his readiness for the coveted title shot.

In an interview with The MMA Hour, Rakhmonov affirmed, 

"I’m already ready to fight for the title, and the win over Stephen Thompson will be another reason to prove that I’m ready." 

The 29-year-old fighter maintains a relentless focus on the task at hand, refusing to get ahead of himself amidst the tantalizing prospect of a championship contest.

The welterweight division's title picture currently appears enigmatic, with Leon Edwards and Colby Covington headlining UFC 296 to resolve their feud. However, Rakhmonov's stellar performances and trail of decisive victories have positioned him as a formidable contender in the mix.

Expressing gratitude for the opportunity to face a seasoned competitor in Thompson, Rakhmonov acknowledges the significance of the bout, emphasizing, 

"Even though he’s on the other side, he’s 40 years old, I still believe he’s a high-level athlete."

Originally scheduled to face Kelvin Gastelum, Rakhmonov's anticipation for an active return to the Octagon intensified after the matchup fell through due to Gastelum's injury. Eager to test his mettle against established names in the division, Rakhmonov welcomes the challenge Thompson presents, valuing the chance to compete against a seasoned campaigner.

As the anticipation builds for UFC 296, Rakhmonov remains focused on the immediate task while maintaining aspirations for the future. The Kazakh fighter's meteoric rise in the division's rankings positions him as a potential future title challenger, but he remains grounded, emphasizing his readiness if the opportunity for a championship bout arises in 2024.

"Only God knows, but I wish to fight for the title next year," Rakhmonov asserted, underscoring his ultimate goal to clinch the welterweight belt and bring pride to his homeland of Kazakhstan through his remarkable journey in the UFC.


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