According to sources close to The MMA Corner, the UFC is targeting a welterweight contest between former champion Johny Hendricks and Stephen Thompson for UFC 196: Velasquez vs. Werdum 2.

Hendricks (17-3), a four-time NCAA Division I All-American and two-time national champion out of the Oklahoma State University, has not been seen since pulling out of his UFC 192 fight against Tyron Woodley due to a weight cutting issue the day of the weigh-ins. He previously earned a decision over  Matt Brown at UFC 185 in March.

Prior to this win,  ‘Big Rigg’ saw current champion Robbie Lawler walk away with his belt following a hard-fought split decision following their rematch at UFC 181. This marked his first appearance inside the Octagon since tearing his bicep during his decision win over Lawler during their initial title fight at UFC 171 in March 2014.

Thompson (11-1), a multi-time kickboxing champion, was originally scheduled to meet Neil Magny at UFC 196 before Magny filled in for the injured Brown at The Ultimate Fighter Latin America 2 Finale in November. As a result, Thompson was left with no opponent. Against Hendricks “Wonderboy” will look to cement himself as a legitimate contender at 170-pounds.

Most recently, fans saw  Thompson score an incredible spinning back kick knockout against Jake Ellenberger in the main event of The Ultimate Fighter 21 Finale in July. This not only extended his win streak to six straight but marked his sixth career knockout victory.

Hendricks would later confirm the booking on Twitter.

UFC 197 is expected to be headlined by a heavyweight title fight rematch between reigning champion Cain Velasquez and Fabricio Werdum. No other fights have been announced.

About The Author

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José began his career as a mixed martial arts journalist while still enrolled at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications at Arizona State University. Since graduating in May 2013, he has attended dozens of high profile UFC fight cards as a credentialed member of the media, providing live cage side coverage through his articles and videos. His work has appeared on UFC.com, ArizonaSports.com and AZCentral. He is also currently one of the main contributors on Power MMA Show at Arizona Sports 98.7 FM, one of the first all MMA radio shows on a major radio station.