Canadian welterweight challenger Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson has declared loud and clear that if he wins his bout with Johnny Hendricks at UFC 196, he feels he’s on the fast-track to fight the winner of the Lawler/Condit bout for the world title.
Stephen Thompson has assembled one of the most quietly impressive records in MMA. A dominant, world champion in point-style karate and kickboxing, Thompson has lost just once in seven outings in The Octagon; that being a unanimous decision defeat to the tireless veteran, Matt Brown.
Although currently ranked 8th, ‘Wonderboy’ could be set to propel himself into title contention if he can overcome former champ and All-American wrestler, Johnny ‘Bigg Rigg’ Hendricks at UFC 196. The former welterweight title holder pulled out of a fight with Tyrone Woodley at UFC 192 due to kidney stones, possibly linked to poor weight cutting practices, and is taking the fight at relatively short notice to prove he can still make the cut post IV ban.
Thompson’s only loss saw Matt Brown thoroughly out wrestle and out work him; however, his game has improved markedly in subsequent years, and he is keen to show his work with sparring partner Chris Weidman has taken him to the next level:
“Everyone wants to see an exciting fight and a spectacular knockout. I like that because fighters don’t think too much about my wrestling or jiu-jitsu. That’s what Ellenberger did; he tried to take me down and I ended up reversing it on him and using both against him.”
“I figure here’s a guy, who’s in the way of my goal and I’m going to treat him as I do everyone else. I don’t let the hype of people get to me. I know I have a longer reach than he does, but he’s very fast. I have to make him swing and miss and counter off of that.”
Although Hendricks possesses spectacular power, he has resorted to his wrestling base of late; smothering his way- sometimes quite frustratingly for spectators- back into title contention. If Thompson can negate this strength he will have made a huge case for himself as a challenger to the winner of this week’s Lawler/Condit bout.
You may also be interested in: