Stephen Thompson reveals the conversation he had with Kevin Holland during last night’s UFC Orlando main event

By Lewis Simpson - December 4, 2022

Stephen Thompson returned to the win column in last night’s UFC Orlando bout with Kevin Holland.

Stephen Thompson

Thompson climbed to (17-6-1) snapping a two-fight skid after forcing Holland to retire on the stool as the fight was headed into the fifth and final round.

The pair had the Amway Center on its feet after delivering one of the year’s most majestic main event showings. A gruelling back-and-forth pace was set from the offset, with both men landing heavy. In rounds three and four, ‘Wonderboy’ began to show the gap in skill level and leapt ahead on the scorecards. Unfortunately for Holland, he was left comprised after sustaining a hand injury. His corner eventually decided to live to fight another day.

Thompson had a tough time creating any offence in his last two outings with Belal Muhammad and Gilbert Burns, who neutralized the 39-year-old tools. However, the karate specialist welcomed a striker vs. striker battle with Holland and was eager to remind the UFC what he could do if given fan-friendly matchups.

Stephen Thomson reveals in-cage conversation with Kevin Holland at UFC Orlando

“It was kind of one of those unwritten rules that we had going into this fight,” Thompson said at the UFC on ESPN 42 post-fight press conference. “I know later on in rounds he was shooting, I know he had a busted hand, but I think I fell down in the first round and he let me back up. He told me in the first round, he’s like, ‘Hey, I’m not taking you down.’ I’m like, ‘All right, man. Sounds good to me.’”

Holland’s management confirmed on social media that the hand injury transpired in the opening round. Thompson recalls the moment it occurred when Holland landed a hard shot to his forehead.

“I did feel that,” Thompson said. “I had to weather the storm. He threw a lot of elbows at well that staggered me a little bit, but I had to keep moving as well. I’ve got a hard head and I weathered the storm and got the W.”

Thompson threw back the years with his impressive performance on Saturday night. The speed, elusive style and karate base still proves to be a difficult puzzle for the division’s elite strikers.

Stephen Thompson has no intention of retiring

More often than not, at 36, fighters are usually retiring or thinking about stepping away from the sport. Thompson, on the other hand, states he still “feels 25” and wants to continue performing at the highest level for as long as he can.

“If you guys want more fights like that, give me a striker, baby,” Thompson said. “Give me a striker. Of course, I’m always looking for the title and that’s always at the top of the list, but why not have some fun fights on the way?”

Once healed up, who would you like to see Stephen Thompson matchup against?


Stephen Thompson UFC