After a terrible stretch that saw Stephen Thompson go from two time title challenger to welterweight top 5 gatekeeper, “Wonderboy” is working his way back up into contention talk. Any ideas that the 37 year old Thompson was down and out were firmly put to bed when he took out the surging Geoff Neal in dominant fashion, blanking the knockout artists five rounds to nil at UFC Vegas 17 (watch the highlights here).
“I’ve been off for a year, broke both my hands in my last fight a year ago at UFC 244,” Thompson said after the fight. “Took a year off, this is the longest time I’ve been off in the fight game for a while. So just glad to be back, brother.”
Ever since that Pettis knockout took the shine off him, “Wonderboy” has been having trouble getting high profile opponents to accept fights with him. That’s not gonna stop him from swinging big on his callouts, though.
“I wanna see the NMF [Nicest Motherf**ker] versus the BMF [Baddest Motherf**ker],” he said. “Let’s make that happen. Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson versus Jorge Masvidal 2. I know that he’s talking about fighting Colby Covington, but we’ll see.”
Thompson and Masvidal fought at UFC 217 in November of 2017, and the fight was similar to Saturday’s bout with Neill in that “Wonderboy” took every round on every judges’ scorecard. Masvidal hit Twitter shortly after Thompson’s callout and sounded open to the idea.
And hey, between the UFC’s reluctance to pay for non-title fights between business savvy stars like Masvidal and Covington (and Masvidal’s unwillingness to fight wrestling-heavy opponents without extra cheddar to make it worthwhile), this Stephen Thompson rematch could really come together.
But first we’ll have to wait and see what the diagnosis is on a knee injury suffered by Thompson in the fourth round. It wasn’t bad enough to stop him from winning the fifth, but it did cause “Wonderboy” to skip the UFC Vegas 17 post-fight press conference.
“It definitely slowed me down,” Thompson told Daniel Cormier after the fight. “I couldn’t straighten it out for some reason, it felt really tight. I tried to kick with it. He hit me with a good knee, that could have been it. I thought it was from a spin technique and miss and trying to recover.”
Let’s just hope this isn’t the kind of knee injury that takes a man out for nine months, because Thompson has big plans for next year.
“Wonderboy’s still here baby!” he exclaimed. “That title, 2021, I’m tell you, it’s gonna be mine, brother.”