Stephen Thompson is preparing to make his return to the Octagon on November 17th at UFC 154 where he will face Besam Yousef. Thompson made a triumphant debut at UFC 143 as he defeated Dan Stittgen by head kick KO in the first round. “Wonderboy” not only walked away with a win, but the Knockout of the Night bonus as well.
The UFC offered him another fight at UFC 145 which gave him a little over two months to prepare for the always tough and durable Matt Brown. Unfortunately things didn’t go according to plan and Thompson walked away with his first professional loss via unanimous decision.
Thompson has agreed to write a weekly blog for BJPenn.Com and fill us in on how his training is going as well as what else he has going on in his life. His family owns Upstate Karate in Simpsonville, SC and when he’s not training he is teaching alongside his father Ray. Here is Wonderboy had to say.
After my last fight we found some things we needed to work on. A lot of the work centered on my weight cut as well as my strength and conditioning. Before my fight against Matt Brown I was walking around at about 205lbs., which is fairly heavy for me. The weight cut was just too much, I threw four leg kicks in the 1st round and my legs were done, they felt like they were full of lead. I didn’t cut weight in time and I had gained too much muscle so we went back to what we did for my first UFC fight.
We got the call to fight Brown two days after fight and at first we weren’t going to do it, but they called and asked us to do it. The training is what really gets you and I had been training since January and I should’ve taken two weeks just to heal up. I remember getting out of the sauna the day before the fight and I almost passed out, I had to sit down. I looked at my dad in the 1st round and he looked at me like what are you doing. I stopped moving and I stopped kicking. Take nothing away from Matt Brown, he did exactly what he said he was going to do and he kicked my butt.
Right now I am around 185lbs. and that’s where I want to stay. I have also spent a lot of time working on my Jiu-Jitsu with my brother in law Carlos Machado. We went back to basics, how to work off my back and get back to my feet. We also brought in Charles McCarthy and Charles Rosa in who spent about a week and a half with us. Rosa is a great wrestler and McCarthy is a great jiu-jitsu practitioner. I’ve been striking my entire life so I don’t think I’ll ever lose that. I still work with my dad once or twice every week hitting the mitts. We’ve really concentrated a lot of time working on my ground game.
We brought in a buddy of mine, Jordan Rinaldi who is a very good grappler and we also brought in Josh Janousek who is a four-time All-American, National Champion wrestler. They are in town to throw me around and it feels good to get out there and work with them.
As far as Yousef, I know he has fought once in the UFC against Simeon Thoresen in April where he lost by rear naked choke. Most of his wins are by submission, I think he’s said that I don’t have the ground game he does and I know he’s going to try and take me down. Wherever the fight goes I am going to be ready. If it stays on the feet then great, if it hits the ground then I’m there. I have nothing to hold back, there was a lot of hype after my first win and it had been like that for a long time because I had never lost. My goal was to never lose and I tried to make that happen, but all of the great fighters lose. That’s why they are great, they learn from their mistakes and got better.
I’ll be fighting on the same card as George St. Pierre who has been out for the past year. I was there about two months ago and he looked in great shape, he’s focused and he’s itching to get back in there. He is so motivated, he has the fire back in him and I think he’s going to come out with a win. He has the craziest work ethic of anyone I’ve ever been around. We did a few sparring sessions together and I’ll work with him again when I go back two weeks before the fight.
My mom and dad were just given an award for top 10 Best Karate Schools in the country. Our main art is Kempo Karate which is basically MMA and geared towards street style situations. We have about 650 students here, most of them are kids and that’s my area. I am the head kids instructor at the school. I love teaching kids because I know what it did for me. It can help get kids on the right track, physically, mentally and emotionally.
Other than preparing for my next fight I like to spend time with my friends and family. I am also big on going to the movies. I caught Loopers with Bruce Willis last weekend and definitely enjoyed it. It’s based on time travel and high crime. Going to the movies really relaxes me and puts me in a different place. I have a lot on my mind and it helps to escape from all that for a little while. During the week I wake up at 7:45 and don’t get home until 10 or 11pm, so the weekends are where I take a step back and relax.
My brother Evan will be competing for Legacy Fighting Championships on December 14th, we are all looking forward to helping him prepare and then watching him fight. I have another brother who plays football for Elon University. We go to every one of his games, he is 280lbs. and can do a back flip and he is able to accomplish that because he’s been involved with martial arts his entire life. He’s going to try and go pro, he’s big enough and athletic enough, but if he doesn’t he has talked about fighting. He fights like I do, but at a much higher weight.
That’s it for now, I’ll be back next week, thanks for reading!
To follow Stephen on Twitter his handle his @WonderBoyMMA
To check out the family gym click here.Tags: featured, georges st. pierre, Matt brown, Stephen Thompson, ufc 145, UFC 154