Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson had his Oscars moment at UFC 205, when Tyron Woodley was incorrectly announced as the winner.
“I thought I (had won),” Thompson said in studio in CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “But first when they announced him beating me, I was like, ‘Wait a second. I know I did better than that.’”
As it turned out, he did. The November 2016 decision was corrected to a majority draw, with Woodley retaining the UFC welterweight championship.
“I thought I had (won the) second, third and fifth round going back and watching it,” Thompson said. “He definitely won the first and definitely won the fourth. But you know what? It is what it is, man. This is the first time, I think, in a title fight that there was ever a draw in UFC history. So we’re bringing it back. We made history. We’re getting fight of the night and we’re going to do it again, man.”
Thompson and Woodley will square off at UFC 209 this Saturday in Las Vegas. Whatever happens, Thompson hopes that the correct decision is announced the first time.
“When they first announced him winning, I really didn’t have time to think about it,” Thompson said. “Dana White was right there. As soon as I turned around, he’s like, ‘No, dude, stay up here. It was a draw.’ But yeah, man, it was tough. (Woodley is) a tough dude.”
He’s also a confident dude. Woodley (16-3-1) said that he is not concerned about Thompson (13-1-1). He also said that Thompson has become a star, in part, because he is white.
Thompson disagreed with that assessment. He also didn’t pay attention to it.
“There’s a lot of things that people say to try and get under your skin, to mess with you psychologically,” he said. “Him going through that, I just think that he’s focused on the fight and not other things. I want him to be 100 percent this Saturday. I want to fight the best people in the world. I just want him to be mentally ready. I think he is. But yeah, it doesn’t bother me. So it doesn’t really affect me one bit.”
Thompson has been fighting pretty much his entire life and, at age 12, was a sparring partner for his sister, Lindsay.
“She beat the crap out of me for years,” Thompson said. “Oh, gosh. She beat the crap out of me.”
Thompson’s father was okay with that. Thompson and his siblings would often spar after dinner, and their father would move the kitchen table and let them go at it. No gloves, no gear.
“We couldn’t close fists, but we could palm-heel to the face,” Thompson said. “We would fight until we didn’t want to fight each other anymore.”
Thompson’s friends and family knew he was tough at a young age, but a lot of people didn’t – in part because Thompson doesn’t look the part of one of the baddest men on the planet.
That all changed one day in high school.
“It only took one scuffle,” he said. “I was in ninth grade, fought a kid who was a senior, and pretty much my sister paved my way through high school. Nobody messed with me because that’s Lindsay Thompson’s brother. You don’t want this girl to beat the crap out of you. But it only took once. That was it.”
Thompson, a South Carolina native, worked his way up in the MMA world, eventually becoming a sparring partner for George St-Pierre.
“He was my inspiration to switch from kickboxing to MMA,” Thompson said. “I found myself learning the ju-jitsu, learning the wrestling, just to be a better sparring partner for him. I’m like, ‘Man, I’m training with this champion.’ Through him, I started training with Rashad Evans, Nate Marquardt. So I’m like, ‘Why not switch to mixed martial arts?’”
The rest is history.
Thompson has learned a lot about himself through fighting and, after Saturday, hopes to call himself a champion.
Said Thompson, “Being able to go out and take shots and keep going – especially that last fight (with Woodley) in the fourth round, where most people would have given up – it told (me) a lot about myself.”