Stephen Thompson is drawing a line in the proverbial sand.
The two-time welterweight title challenger recently sent a strong message to the rest of the 170-pound division, warning all future opponents about his new pre-fight policy: either make the contracted weight, or don’t bother showing up.
“I want everybody to know right now in the 170 division, that if you’re going to fight me now you better be on weight or it’s not going to happen,” Thompson told The MMA Hour. “I’m at a place in my career what I want to fight fairly. I don’t want to play any games.”
Thompson withdrew from the UFC 291 pay-per-view (PPV) card last month in Salt Lake City after Michel Pereira came in three pounds over the welterweight limit. “Wonderboy” was subsequently stiffed on his “show” purse because promotion president doesn’t like to hand out $250,000 to people who don’t compete.
Unless it’s one of the Nelk Boys.
Thompson, 40, previously accepted a fight against Darren Till — notorious for his struggles on the scale — only to have “The Gorilla” miss weight by 3.5 pounds. “Wonderboy” reluctantly agreed to move forward with the bout and went on to lose by unanimous decision.
“Everybody knows what happened with (Darren) Till — I told myself then after that fight, I will never do this again,” Thompson continued. “[Till] was just a big body. I could feel it out there. It does make a difference. When you’re depleting yourself and you’re already lean and you go into fight camp and you have to cut 11 to 12 pounds more of water weight and you’re struggling. You feel like death. Your voice changes. Your eyes are sinking into the back of your head. Your head hurts. You’re going through cramps. You step on that scale and you’re still 174 and you still have to get down there. That’s how I feel whenever I step on the scale.”
Thompson (17-6-1) is hoping to make his Octagon return at UFC 295 in November.