Last month, in the main event of UFC 209, Stephen Thompson came up short in a rematch with welterweight champion Tyron Woodley, failing to capture the UFC welterweight crown in the process. Now exactly a month removed from this second battle with Woodley, Stephen Thompson deconstructed the fight with BJPenn.com’s Chris Taylor.
“Tyron was kind of very laid back in the fight,” Thompson said of what surprised him most about the rematch. “[He was] kind of slow. He was backing up a lot – well pretty much the whole fight – so it didn’t make for an entertaining fight. There was a lot of respect there [between us]. I want my next fight to be with someone who likes to push the pace. I think the fans would really enjoy a fight between myself and Carlos Condit or Nick Diaz.”
Taylor then asked Thompson if he had any regrets after falling short against Woodley for a second time, specifically if he wished he’d been more aggressive.
“Yeah, the thing is [with] someone as powerful as Tyron – and that’s what he was waiting on, he was waiting on me to come in so that he could throw that bomb of a right hand like he did in the first fight – And I knew that. Plus I could hear his coaches at the same time telling him ‘Hey man look for the takedown, when he comes in look for the takedown’. So that kind of kept me at bay. I didn’t realize he was just going to back up the whole time and just wait on me. So that was the whole thing [for me], was not rushing in there. Especially not with someone as powerful as that guy. I had to avoid getting taken down or getting rocked with the right hand. Tyron will put anybody away with that thing. So yeah I was very cautious. I know the crowd didn’t like it to much but when it comes down to it, I mean of course we are in the entertainment game, but you also have to think about your health. Going out there and getting knocked out to make the fans happy is not good for your health or your career.”
“It was just a weird fight man,” Thompson continued. “Stylistically, like you said, it was just two guys who knew each other very well and things were slow because of that.”
Finally, Taylor asked Thompson if he was interested in a third fight with Woodley down the road or if, after 10 rounds with the reigning champ, he’d prefer any future title shot to come against someone else.
“You know what to be honest with you it really doesn’t matter to me,” he said. “Whoever has the title is who I want. As of right now [Woodley] is the guy who holds the title so that is who I am aiming for. So depending on what time or fashion I defeat my next couple of opponents in, I think I could realistically get back to a title fight or be in the picture soon. But whoever it is at that time doesn’t really matter. If it is Tyron, great. If it’s Demian Maia, if it’s Robbie Lawler again, it really does not matter to me. I’m just focused on getting that belt. There is nothing like ‘Oh I can’t wait to fight Tyron again’ coming from me. It is just whoever has the belt at the time. I don’t care.”
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This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 4/4/2017.