Stephen Thompson may not be the UFC welterweight champion, but he managed to take a lot of things away from his performance at Madison Square Garden two weeks ago.
His perspective of the five-round war at MSG
Speaking to the guys at Submission Radio this past weekend, Thompson talked about the experience of sharing the Octagon with champion Tyron Woodley and told the story of the fight from his perspective.
"In the first-round, I went to throw a lazy kick to the leg to see how he'd react to it to see if he'd drop his left hand down," Thompson said. "Of course, the next kick would've been one to the head, but of course what happened was when I threw that lazy kick to the leg he ended up catching the damn kick and taking me down.
"He felt really strong in the clinch position and on top and it was very difficult for me to get back up. I've had guys in the gym who've weight 185-205, but Tyron just felt way stronger than those guys. I think me just walking around at a heavier weight will definitely help me out in those situations.
"I felt fine in the second and third rounds, but in the fourth I just felt really flat and my movement was gone for some reason. I saw the punches coming I just didn't react fast enough to get out the way or block them. I was basically using my face to block them in the fourth round. In the fifth-round I got my second wind and I was feeling very well in the fifth round."
How he'd go about things differently next time
Thompson then reflected on what he'd do differently next time and stated that it would be more to do with his preparations than anything he'd do in the fight itself.
"One of the biggest things was coming in a little bit heavier," Thompson said. "I was walking around like 182 before the fight and when I stepped into the Octagon I was in there at like 178 which was way too light--especially when you are fighting somebody in there who is like 195-200.
"So, we are going to walk around at a heavier weight, like 195 and then that way you are going to see a bigger, stronger, Stephen 'Wonderboy'Thompson."
Did Woodley really know what he was going to throw?
Speaking on the MMA Hour two days after the fight, Woodley said that there'd been a lot of dialogue between himself and Thompson during the fight and the he'd been able to call Thompson's shots before he threw them.
Thompson gave his perspective on what actually went on.
"My Dad was calling out combos and stuff and he was acting like he exactly knew, but he didn't," Thompson said. "it didn't throw me off one bit. He was 'Moneymaker', 'Spin kick' and my Dad would say like different codes and he would say I know exactly what that's going to be and I'd say no you don't. I was like sitting there telling him you don't know what that's going to be and I'd throw something different. I'd throw what my Dad was telling me, but he'd have no idea what's coming.
"I think he was just trying to play with my head. That's another aspect to the game. He's a champion for a reason and he knows how to play with people physically and mentally. He knows how to play the game, which is what I expected from the champ."
The draw will make things sweeter next time around
The Upstate Karate man then gave his feelings on how the fight had been scored and said he could understand the result, but not some of the scorecards.
"I figured I'd done enough to win, but he's the champion man," Thompson said. "One judge gave him the 10-8 in fourth round and one judge gave him a 10-8 in first round which I didn't see that on the first round, but you know it is what it is. It's going to make that second fight that much better when I bring the title belt home."
Thoughts on Conor McGregor denying him an immediate rematch
One man who could put Thompson's rematch in jeopardy is Conor McGregor. Rumors of the Irishman wanting to fight for a third title have been swirling around, though everything is still up in air regarding his availability and his next fight. Thompson at least isn't, focusing on that for the minute.
"I'm a fighter man and fighters are going to fight," Thompson said. "That's up to my management company man and the UFC to figure out. I do believe I deserve that title shot. It was a draw it was like we never fought at all. We got to go out there and settle it. Who is the real champion? Who is it? I think the fans enjoyed the last fight enough to tune in for that.
"You know what, not all [in reference to McGregor leapfrogging him]. The UFC knows that I deserve that title shot and that I deserve that rematch. I think Conor McGregor has got to defend the 145 title and 155 title and I just think he's too small for the 170 division. He's walking around at like 170, maybe less and I don't think it would be a good division for him to step up to."
Having a score to settle with Woodley
While saying he didn't think it would be a good idea for McGregor to enter the 170 division, Thompson reiterated that the rematch between him and Woodley was the only fight to make and that the two had a score to settle.
"The final judgement was that it was draw, meaning we are going to be fighting again," Thompson said. "The fans enjoyed the fight, I think they loved it. I'm so down to do it again and we are looking at February to get this next title shot going.
"To be honest, it's a short turn around. UFC haven't said anything to us yet, but I think they are just waiting for me to heal up. I know Tyron is shooting for a shorter date and he's calling out Conor McGregor, but I deserve it man. Us going out there and it being a draw is like us never fighting at all. It's a draw and we have to settle this. Hopefully we will hear pretty soon."
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