Top UFC welterweight contender Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson appeared recently on Submission Radio for a wide-ranging discussion. At UFC 205 Wonderboy had a majority draw with division champion Tyron Woodley. Due to a New York State Athletic Commission error, the ending was chaotic, with two different results read off.
“In the beginning, I really didn’t see Bruce Buffer kind of go in the cage, go back out of the cage, so I was just sitting there, talking to my coaches and of course he announced that Tyron won the fight. And then I’m sitting there like what the crap? I knew I won the second, third and fifth round, I’m like going through my head. And then I look at Dana White and he’s like, ‘No dude, stay up in here, it was a draw, it was definitely a draw.’ I’m like, okay, crap, yes man, this could definitely happen, we could definitely get another fight out of this. And so all those emotions were going through my head, thinking I won the fight, and then I didn’t win the fight, and then going to, hey, this is a draw, we can end up fighting again. It was chaos, to be honest with you. It was all crazy in my head. But the final judgment was that it was a draw, which means we are gonna be able to fight again. And I think the fans enjoyed the fight. I think the loved it, it was very exciting. So dude, I am so down to do it again. We’re looking at February, hopefully, to get this next title shot going.”
“I knew he won the first round. He ended up taking me down off that lazy kick. He was very strong on the ground, so I knew I couldn’t get up from that position, so I knew I had to wait it out. I knew I won the second and third round, that fourth round was obviously him and the fifth round was mine as well. So I figured I pulled out enough to win. But you know what, he is the champion, man, and of course they gave him I think the 10-8 in the fourth – I think one judge gave him 10-8 fourth round, one judge gave him 10-8 first round, which I don’t see that on the first round. But it is what it is, and it’s gonna make this second fight even that much better when I bring that title belt back home.”
“Even though I didn’t bring that belt home, I know I won a lot of fans over that night. A lot of people see me as a fighter, but they don’t see the heart that goes into it, the perseverance that goes into it. They just see me. And I don’t look like a fighter, but I’m glad that everybody, that the world was able to see what kind of heart I have and perseverance and indomitable spirit I have in that octagon. It doesn’t matter who I face. Once I step out there, I’m out there to put on a show and give it all I got. There’s no giving up in this guy. And that’s what I’ve been taught since day one, since I’ve been in this sport, and that’s what all the fans are gonna see. So anybody who steps out there with me knows that they’re in for a rough night.”
The fighter who wins the rematch is likely going to be the one who learned more. Wonderboy learned that size matters.
“Honestly, one of the biggest things was coming in a little bit heavier [for the next fight],” said Woodley. “I was walking around 182 about two weeks before the fight. When I stepped in the octagon, I was weighing about 178, which is way too light, especially when you’re fighting somebody like Tyron Woodley who’s probably stepping back in there at 195 or 200. So we’re going to be walking at around about a heavier weight, 195, staying around there. That way, you see a bigger, stronger Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson.”
“In the first round I threw a lazy kick to the leg, just to see how he would react to it, to see if he would drop his front hand down. Of course, the next kick would’ve been to the head, but when I threw that lazy kick it just so happens that he ended up catching the dang kick and ended up taking me down. But he felt really strong in the clinch position, on top. So it was very difficult for me to get back up. You know, I’ve got guys in the gym who fight at 185, 205, and Tyron felt just way stronger than those guys. So just me walking around at a heavier weight is definitely help me out in those situations.”
“We haven’t heard anything yet from the UFC. That’s just kind of what we’re thinking about healing up time, getting these lacerations on my nose fixed. I don’t have a broken nose, there’s just some little lacerations that we need to get healed up and get back in the swing of things. And to be honest with you, it’s a short turn around, but UFC haven’t said anything to us yet. I think they’re just waiting for me to heal up, for both of us. I know Tyron is shooting for a shorter date. I know he’s calling out Conor McGregor, but I think you know I deserve it, man. You know, us going out there and it being a draw is like we never fought at all. It’s a tie, basically. So we gotta go out there and we gotta settle this and we’re gonna settle it hopefully here pretty soon.”
If the UFC does not schedule an immediate rematch, would Thompson take a fight vs. someone else?
“I’m a fighter, man, and fighters, we’re just gonna fight, and that’s up to my management company and the UFC to figure out,” he explained. “But I do believe that I deserve that next title shot against Tyron Woodley because it was a draw. It was like we never fought at all. So we gotta go out there and we gotta settle who is the real champion. Who is it? I think the fans enjoyed that last fight enough that they’re gonna tune in for that. And I’ve heard from a lot of people who are excited about that rematch between me and Tyron.”
One reason Thompson might not get a rematch is if Woodley is scheduled to fight UFC featherweight and lightweight champion Conor McGregor. Wonderboy is not concerned.
“Not at all, man,” he said. “To be honest with you, I think the UFC knows that I deserve that title shot, that I deserve that rematch. And you know what, I think that Conor McGregor’s gotta defend the 145 and the 155 title and I just think he’s too small for the 170 division. I mean, he’s walking around right at 170, maybe a little bit less. I don’t think it would be a good division for him to step up to.”
However, Thompson begrudges McGregor nothing and was impressed that the Irishman brought up a Wonderboy fight immediately after beating Alvarez at UFC 205.
“I think it’s very smart, very intelligent for him,” said Thompson. “I mean, he’s already out there talking trash to Tyron and doing his thing, doing what Conor McGregor does. I mean, just think about it – a few years ago, he was living in his car, he had no money. Now he’s a multi-millionaire. Hats off to that guy. I’m happy for that guy. A lot of people look down on people who are successful, but Conor McGregor is successful because he runs his mouth and he knows how to put on a show. I mean, look at his press conferences. I mean, come on. People show up just to see him just act nuts. Hats off to that guy, he’s a very intelligent, very smart guy.”
And Wonderboy did think that McGregor vs. either he or Woodley would be worth watching.
“I think it would be a good fight no matter what,” said Thompson. “I mean, he is one of the best fighters out there and that’s what we’re out to do. We’re out to fight the best fighters in whatever division, whoever steps up. We’ll take on any challenges and I think that’s what fighters do. If you’re a champion or not, you should take on all challenges and I think it would be a good fight. I think the fans would tune in to see who would win.”
Thompson also expressed how grateful he was to the hometown fans.
“It’s just all been amazing,” he said. “I flew in late Sunday night after the fight, I expected to go home and go straight to sleep, just kind of heal up and rest, and next thing you know I was being escorted by police officers to our city and there was hundreds and hundreds of people out there supporting me, and I just got me emotional. Even though I didn’t bring the title home, it meant the world to me that my community, my friends, my family were there to support me no matter what.
“And that’s one of the reasons why I’m gonna get better and stronger, is for them. It was just amazing. The next week, of course, I’m coming in Karate class looking like a raccoon with two black eyes, my students are coming in with makeup on with black eyes, supporting my black eyes. It was awesome, man. It definitely just puts a smile on my face and much more affectionate to my students and it was awesome. It was unbelievable.”