Steven ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson recently took part in a media call ahead of his fight with welterweight champion Tyron Woodley at UFC 205, and vowed to use movement to win. Wonderboy is one of the few karate-based fighters in the UFC, and plans to use one of the cental aspects of American karate, distance management, to overcome the areas where Woodley excels.
And Woodley does truly excel. Wrestling is the most dominant base in mixed martial arts, and Woodley is a two-time All American at the University of Missouri. Knocking people out matters too in MMA, and Woodley quickly knocked out Robbie Lawler, something no one had done in a dozen years.
Still, Thompson is confident, and the odds makers favor him. He explains why.
“He’s definitely got some one-hitter quitter power, as you saw against Robbie Lawler,” said ‘Wonderboy’ as transcribed by Tristen Critchfield for Sherdog. “It took one shot. Obviously I want to stay away from that right hand. He’s not only a good striker; he’s obviously a good wrestler. When I go out there I have to be on my P’s and Q’s. Not only can he hit you with a right hand, but he can take you down as well. Keeping my good footwork, always moving, making it difficult for him to beat on my legs [is how I win].
“Just trying to hit and move. Try to Muhammad Ali him. He’s the champion for a reason.”
“I think that everybody that I fight is going to want to take me down eventually. I’ve been working on my wrestling tremendously….I felt like I came in the game fairly late, 2010, but I’ve made leaps and bounds with my takedown defense. Every time I step out there I expect to get taken down, but I’m ready for it. Just pop right back up and keep it where I want it and that’s standing.”
“I went to my first UFC show when I was 12 years old.” said Thompson. “It was in Charlotte, North Carolina. My dad took me to that. I told myself I was going to fight in the UFC one day. Now I’m fighting for the title.
“It’s a dream come true.”