Nick Thompson is one of the top MMA welterweight fighters in the world today. The former Bodog World Champion, Nick will look to add an additional title to his belt Saturday July 26th, when he takes on another one of the top fighters in the world, Jake Shields. In this exclusive, Nick sits down with us to answer some questions leading up to his July 26th title fight. : Nick. Thanks very much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to chat with us today. How’s your training going for Jake Shields and tell us how you are preparing for this fight?

Nick Thompson NT: Training is going well. I took the fight on shorter notice than I would have liked but my camp was great and has really rallied behind me. I am training for this fight just like I do for every 5 round fight and will come in prepared to outwork Jake in every round.

MMAT: Would you say this is the biggest fight of your career?

NT: The Eddie Alvarez fight was a huge fight for me but I think the exposure of this fight makes it bigger.

MMAT: What types of problems do you think Shields poses compared to other fights in your career?

NT: I have beaten better wrestlers. I have beaten better jiu-jitsu fighters and I have beaten better strikers. However, I have never faced anyone who does each thing as well as Jake. Jake’s well-roundedness makes him very dangerous.

MMAT: You’ve had an online feud with one of the hosts of BET’s Iron Ring online where you offered to go to his gym and fight him. How did that all start? Was that a serious challenge and what is the latest?

NT: He said that a kung-fu practitioner would beat a mixed martial artist in a no-rules fight because mixed martial artists lacked technical ability. I took exception to this and told him if he thought this was true, we should each put up a significant amount of money and have a winner take all fight. I had a venue and promoter in a state without a commission who was willing and able to host the fight. Said Kung-fu guy balked at the idea of putting up money or travelling to fight me. He then made a ridiculous youtube video in which he stated that I have to come to his town and fight him, etc. I have since talked to the kung-fu guy and I have agreed to go fight him in his neighborhood. Arrangements are being made but all of that is taking a backseat to preparing for Jake.

MMAT: There has been a lot of talk lately about exclusive contracts and fighters not liking them and most organizations are in favor. What are your thoughts on exclusive contracts and is your deal exclusive with EliteXC.

NT: I don’t think exclusive contracts are unfair. The promotions put a lot of time and money into the promoting of their stars. So long as the promotions take care of their guys, I think that the promotions should be promised a return on that investment. That being said, my deal with EltieXC is non-exclusive. It was important to me to still be able to fight for Sengoku in Japan.

MMAT: How many fights do you have on your contract with EliteXC?
NT: I have a 6 fight deal.

MMAT: In the past you have said that you may not be ready for a fight with Georges St. Pierre right now, but everyone else in the world you would love to fight. Where do see yourself in the 170 lbs world rankings?

NT: That is a difficult question to answer. I think that if I and my opponent are at our best, that at this point in time, I beat anyone save GSP. And I don’t think the gap between us is that great if we both have our best day. That being said, the probability of me having my best day is not where I would like it to be. I have had very few fights where I felt that I fought up to my ability in each discipline of the sport. Part of being a great fighter is consistently fighting great in every aspect of the fight and this is something on which I am working.

MMAT: Being one of the top 170 lbs fighters in the world, we’d like to ask you how you see a fight between GSP and BJ Penn at 170 lbs playing out and why?

NT: I think GSP takes him but you never know. GSP is a racehorse. When he is in the zone, it is going to be impossible to beat him. However, when racehorses are off, they have a hard time recovering. Not to mention, how do you ever count BJ out?

MMAT: Quick 3. Who is your top 3 pound for pound best fighters in the world today in order?

NT: Fedor, Anderson Silva, GSP

MMAT: If you could fight one celebrity who would it be?

NT: Michael Clarke Duncan. Whenever I am at fights I like to get pictures with other fighters, etc. holding me in their arms. Michael Clarke Duncan wouldn’t hold me. I think he thought it was kind of fruity. In any case, we need to have a grudge match.

MMAT: What’s one fight you would love to take and you would be in that weight class?

NT: Fedor. You have to fight the best to be the best.

MMAT: Is there anything you’d like to say or anyone you’d like to thank?

NT: I would like to thank my teammates at MMAA. I would also like to thank The Fight Zone, Island Supplements, MMA Overload and TapouT.

MMAT: Thanks very much for your time with us today Nick. Good luck with your training and good luck on July 26th. Be sure to check in with Nick at his official website.