While this past UFC weekend might have been dominated by the "McGregor Show", the most spectacular finish was scored by Stephen Thompson. He landed a spinning-hook kick KO against Jake Ellenberger in the main event of the The Ultimate Fighter 21 Finale, and it's a victory that didn't come without struggle. Thompson was clipped with a hard shot by Ellenberger at the beginning of the fight. He went down, but kept his composure and managed to wrestle his way back up to finish the fight in amazing fashion.
"You know what, I didn't feel it," Thompson recollects Ellenberger's knockdown blow in an interview with MMA Fighting's Ariel Helwani. "I knew I went down, I knew he hit me with something. My legs gave away, but I just followed up with my wrestling, something I've really been working on. I felt comfortable, kept my cool and finished the round out with a spectacular knockout."
Thompson went 5-0 in his last five fights and has lost only once in his 12-fight career: a unanimous decision to Matt Brown, at UFC 145 in April 2012, where the kickboxing expert got outwrestled by the "Immortal". He has "learned a lot" form that fight, he says, has worked extensively on his wrestling and Jiu Jitsu. It showed against Ellenberger, another gritty wrestler. Now, when it comes to his loss against Brown, "Wonderboy" would love to avenge it in a rematch.
"I'm all down for it my friend. That was my first loss, I learned a lot," he says. "No disrespect to Matt Brown, he's a great fighter, but I think I got and have what it takes to beat him."
He might be right. Or, as UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman, who interrupted the interview for a few brief seconds, put it: With good wrestling, Stephen Thompson could be a "serious problem" for the UFC welterweight division.