Stephen Thompson was surprised when former training partner and friend Georges St-Pierre retired last week.
“Wonderboy”, who last spoke to St-Pierre before his rematch against Tyron Woodley at UFC 209, says he expected the French Canadian superstar to compete a few more times in the Octagon.
“I figured he would have had one or two more fights in.” Thompson told MMANews. “He still looks great and he’s a martial artist. When the guy doesn’t have a fight he’s constantly training. I know he was into gymnastics for a while, to do something different. He’s a long life martial artist. But hey man he doesn’t have to fight in my eyes. He’ll always be the champ and the best of all time in my eyes. Especially in the 170-pound division.
“Last time I talked to George was when I fought Tyron Woodley for the second time. He called me and wished me luck and said [he] wanted to fight again that that he’d never fight [me]. Just letting me know if [I did] get that title [he] wouldn’t touch it. It was more of a respect thing. I don’t’ think I’d ever fight GSP either. At one point there was talk of me fighting him. He was my idol man.”
Thompson (14-3-1) is set to return to the cage on Mar. 23 against former lightweight champion Anthony Pettis at UFC on ESPN+ 6. While the 36-year-old has been critiqued in recent fights for not having the most exciting matchups, he doesn’t think that will be the case against Pettis.
“This has barn burner written all over it,” he said. “I mean he’s an exciting fighter anyways. I think just the competition of trying to outdo each other in our styles will be fun for the fans. I’m predicting a knockout man, it’s going to be fun.
“He’s very good at jiu-jitsu, he’s submitted some high level jiu-jitsu players [like] Michael Chiesa,” he added. “I’m prepared wherever the fight goes. He has a Taekwondo background, I’ve got a Karate background that’s why it’s going to be a great matchup. I’ve been a fan of his for a while because of his style. We have a very similar style. To go out there and play that style against each other is exciting to me. To play that chess match and outdo them in their own game.
“To be honest with you I think Anthony Pettis is more prepared for my style than anyone in the 170-pound division. Most of the guys that I have faced have been wrestlers or boxing style fighters. I think Anthony will be more prepared because of his Taekwondo background which is exciting to me. I haven’t faced anybody that is used to it yet.”
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This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 2/25/2019.