UFC welterweight contender Stephen Thompson says that rival Gilbert Burns was “scared of my striking” during their recent fight at UFC 264.
Thompson lost a unanimous decision to Burns in the co-main event of UFC 264 earlier this month. It wasn’t the most exciting fight in the world, and UFC president Dana White later criticized Burns for his grappling-heavy approach to the fight. Still, the Brazilian did what he needed to do to win the fight and to nullify the striking of Thompson, widely considered one of the best standup fighters in the UFC. But if you ask Thompson, the reason why Burns was so content to holding him down is that he was scared of his striking attacks.
Speaking to MMA reporter James Lynch, Thompson criticized Burns for his control-heavy approach to the fight and said that he believes his rival was scared of trading with him.
“Now that I look back at it, he was backing up because I think he was scared of my striking,” Thompson said. “During the fight, I’m sitting there waiting for him, I was making sure I wasn’t overly aggressive coming forward. I wanted to keep him right on that edge where I’m not too close, not too far away. But now that I looking back, he was scared.
“I definitely could have been more aggressive in that fight with my striking. It showed in the second round where he was trying to get me down and he was literally covering up head down,” continued Thompson. “I was surprised that he was happy with that. At the end of it, he was acting like he just won the title. If it was me, I would have been disappointed winning that way. But you know, I’m definitely disappointed in my performance as well. I should have been more aggressive and let my hands fly! My dad has been relentless, he is not letting me forget it so it doesn’t happen next time.”
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