Stephen Thompson on UFC Orlando performance: ‘I wanted to prove to everybody that I’m still in this game’


Stephen Thompson isn’t going anywhere just yet.

Thompson stopped Kevin Holland during the fourth round of UFC Orlando this Saturday. Thompson entered the bout on a two-fight losing skid with some questioning whether “Wonderboy” was still able to compete at the highest levels of the sport. That’s why, Thompson said, he came out with some extra fire.

“I didn’t feel any pressure at all,” Thompson told Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour. I try to maintain that mindset before entering a fight. I don’t like feeling like I have to do anything. Yes, I lost my last two fights, against good wrestlers, but I didn’t take any damage so it’s not like I got beat up beat up. More, it was that I wanted to show Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson and his fans that he is still around. He isn’t too old to play this game. Everybody else is telling me that I’m too old. It’s obvious because I have lost both of my fights. ‘He must be too old.’ So I’m like, are you kidding me? I feel like I’m 25. It’s my turn.

” I think this is one reason why I was so aggressive in this fight. I think it was the fact that people thought I was too old and I wanted to prove to everybody that I’m still in this game and that you ain’t got the last of Stephen Thompson. I’m still here, baby.”

Thompson has spent the majority of his career in the UFC, amassing a 12-6-1 record in the organization, and twice challenging for the welterweight title, but has struggled recently, including a back-to-back grappling-heavy losses against Gilbert Burns and Belal Muhammad prior to the Holland victory. Those losses, along with Thompson approaching his 40th birthday, had fans questioning how much longer “Wonderboy” can still compete, but Thompson says he still has a lot of fight left in him, so long as the matchups are right.

” The last time someone told me that I was old was when I lost to Anthony Pettis,” Thompson stated. Although Vicente Luque and Geoff Neal beat me, it was a shock to me that I didn’t feel the victory. It feels like I am still playing the game. It’s clear that I still feel capable of putting on an entertaining show for my fans and UFC. “Look, I need a striker. We’ll put on the greatest fight of all time,” we said.

“When I take on a strong striker, it’s Fight of the Night. Obviously, there’s a lot of things I’ve got to work on with my wrestling and jiu-jitsu, I’m still getting better with that every day, but it was the right moment. It was the perfect opponent. It was the perfect opponent.

Of course, Holland was not the UFC’s first choice for Thompson to face. Originally the UFC wanted “Wonderboy” to fight undefeated prospect Shavkat Rakhmonov, known for both his striking and grappling prowess. Thompson turned down the fight because he is not interested at this point in his career and only wants to see exciting fights.

” When they asked me to fight Shavkat I said, “Look, this man had 10 time of control against… [Neil Magny],” Thompson.” He had nine-and-a-half minutes of control, and he kept Shavkat on the floor. The UFC told me that this man is a fighter and would strike with me. It’s not possible. You guys have seen my last fights. That’s not what the fans want to see.’ They pretty much booed the last two fights. My opponents did nothing but shoot me and hold my hand.

“I don’t know any fan that would want to watch that type of Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson fight. They are looking for a great fight. This Saturday, we were able to see that. It was a bit [bothered], for me, which is why it took us so long to return. It was important to choose the right opponent. Let me tell you, Kevin Holland is a beast. So we made it happen and people are loving it. The fight is a favorite. They love the fight.

And as for the next “right” opponent, it may have to wait as Thompson broke his left hand during the fight with Holland and does not have a definitive timetable on his return. However, “Wonderboy”, who hopes to face another opponent in early 2023,, has a list of potential opponents.

” “There are a few rivals that are being discussed,” Thompson stated. “No. 1, Conor McGregor. Conor McGregor is being fought by people. The ‘BMF [Jorge Masvidal], is what I have been trying to obtain. People want to know the difference between ‘BMF and ‘NMF. They want to see the striking classes, they want us to strike. Pereira, Michel Pereira. This would be .”