Stephen Thompson 'Disappointed' He Drew Darren Till Over Rafael Dos Anjos

Stephen Thompson 'Disappointed' He Drew Darren Till Over Rafael Dos Anjos

UFC welterweight contender Stephen Thompson discusses his UFC Liverpool scrap vs. Darren Till, Rafael dos Anjos, and more.

May 22, 2018 by FloCombat Staff
Stephen Thompson 'Disappointed' He Drew Darren Till Over Rafael Dos Anjos

By Damon Martin

Stephen Thompson had nothing handed to him as he made his way toward the UFC welterweight title.

"Wonderboy" had to win seven fights in a row, including a laundry list of future and ex-champions. Notably, he notched victories over current UFC middleweight champ Robert Whittaker, former welterweight king Johny Hendricks, and current Bellator champion Rory MacDonald before he secured his shot at the belt.

Sunday, May 27, at UFC Fight Night 130 in Liverpool, Thompson will once again put his No. 1 welterweight ranking on the line when he faces Darren Till, a highly touted—if relatively untested—prospect out of England. 

Meanwhile on June 9, Rafael dos Anjos will battle Colby Covington to crown an interim champion who will then move on to unify the titles with welterweight king Tyron Woodley.

Dos Anjos has gone undefeated with three straight wins since moving to welterweight, while Covington attained his spot by picking up five consecutive victories with two coming against ranked opponents. 

Of course, Thompson understands he had two shots at Woodley and came up short on both occasions, with a draw in the first fight and a unanimous decision loss the second time around. Still, Thompson's resume is undeniable, and he's beginning to wonder why his road to the belt was so hard while others are seemingly getting a free pass.

"I am the No. 1 guy," Thompson told FloCombat. "Before I got to fight for the title, I had to fight the No. 1 guy. I was ranked No. 2 and I had to fight Rory MacDonald.

"Yeah, I understand I fought for the title twice. The first one was a draw, which was an amazing fight, we ended up getting 'Fight of the Night.' The second fight people thought it wasn't very entertaining but if you keep winning and you're still No. 1, why do these guys not have to face me? They're kind of jumping past me a little bit. Now I'm fighting the No. 7 guy. It's a little disappointing to be honest with you that I didn't get the fight with RDA."

For Thompson, a fight against dos Anjos had nothing to do with an interim title because he doesn't like the idea of that being introduced regardless of who is involved.

With Woodley promising a comeback by August, "Wonderboy" just sees no reason to hand out an interim championship because it does nothing more than devalue what is supposed to be the crowning achievement of a fighter's career.

"I don't like it. I don't like that decision," Thompson said. "They're just handing out interim titles left and right. To me, that's a touchy subject because if [Woodley] says he's ready to fight in August, why even have an interim title? Why even have it? Just say the next guy is going to get the title shot. Why even have the interim title?

"The interim titles are not doing good for the actual title holder. It just diminishes the value of it."

While the winner of dos Anjos and Covington might have a belt wrapped around their waist after UFC 225, Thompson knows the path to gold still ultimately goes through him.

He understands that a third shot at Woodley probably won't await him even with a win over Till on Sunday, but Thompson also knows that any welterweight truly deserving of championship consideration should have to be locked inside the cage with him first. 

"I think [Woodley] knows and I think that a lot of the other welterweights know that they do have to get past me," Thompson said. "Right now they do have to get past me to get to that level to fight for the title.

"But that's neither here nor there. I'm going to go out there and put on a show in Liverpool against Darren Till. He's my next guy. He's the guy that's trying to come and take my post and I'm not going to let it happen."