Wonderboy: Woodley and I “Have to Settle This”
The UFC 205 co-main event between welterweight champion Tyron Woodley and Stephen Thompson did not lack in action, but it did lack in resolution. The fight was declared a draw, and Thompson has been calling for a rematch to prove that he is indeed worthy of becoming champion.
UFC President Dana White said after the fight that a rematch was in order, but White’s words are not exactly gospel in the MMA world. "Wonderboy" spoke with Submission Radio over the weekend, discussing what went wrong in the bout and why he deserves the chance to run it back with Woodley.
"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," Thompson said. 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."
The fourth round was of course the most crucial of the fight, as Woodley caught Wonderboy with an overhand right which led to a three-minute onslaught that Thompson barely survived. He was dropped multiple times and caught in a deep guillotine choke, but was somehow able to stay in the fight and wound up on top. Despite Thompson’s disagreement with the round being scored 10-8, he took enough damage in the round for the scoring to be justified.
Outside of Round 4, the opening stanza was the most one-sided for Woodley. He was able to catch a kick from Thompson and take the karate expert to the floor, where he dominated for the round’s final three minutes. Thompson believes that Woodley’s strength was the toughest hurdle to overcome in the fight, and his own weight management was an issue that led to being undersized.
"One of the biggest things is coming in a little bit heavier," Thompson said of potential adjustments he can make ahead of a rematch. "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."
As for confirmation on a rematch, Thompson has heard nothing official yet. A potential date for Woodley-Thompson II could be UFC 209, which takes place at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Thompson was a favorite the New York crowd all week leading up to UFC 205, and the fight was the best of the night at the Madison Square Garden debut.