After a historic night for MMA in New York City, Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson, accompanied with his training partner, friend, and brother-in-law Chris Weidman, took questions from media members at Madison Square Garden.
Submission Radio was on-site to capture the top ranked welterweight’s answers.
During the press conference, Thompson was asked if his championship tilt with Tyron Woodley was impacted at all by witnessing Weidman’s loss to Yoel Romero (by a brutal flying knee) just moments earlier.
“You know what, it was man,” sighed Thompson. “I felt it, you know, my heart dropped. For something like that to happen to such a good guy, good friend, and now family member, it was... yeah it hurt me, man. It hurt me deep.”
Despite the pain of seeing such a close friend lose in such a stunning fashion, Thompson stated that he knew he ‘had a job’ do to and that he had to ‘stay focused on it.’
The job Thompson went on to do was a five-round back-and-forth battle with Woodley, which is yet another contender for Fight Of The Year. After some confusion in the cage the contest was ruled a majority draw, with one judge scoring the bout for Woodley and two others declaring it a tie.
“I’d take it,” stated Thompson. “I mean, it's not a win, obviously, so it's definitely disappointing, but hopefully we can get in and do it again.”
The fight reached its dramatic end despite Thompson almost being stopped in the fourth round, due to a crushing punch from Woodley. However, Thompson said the punch may have looked worse than it was.
“I was still coherent,” said Thompson of the seconds that followed Woodley’s power-strike. “I could still see, I got right back up to my feet.”
Thompson’s reward for surviving the punch was a tight guillotine choke that also looked as if it could of ended the fight.
“It was very tight right off the bat,” admitted Thompson. “[I] ended up defending it well, got my arm in, got my butt up in the air. I could feel him really struggling to try and get it. So I was so [thinking] let me sit here for a second, trying to get my head out, see if he could burn his arms out.”
Though Thompson described the hold as “very close” to possibly rendering him unconscious, the title challenger stated he had no intentions of tapping out.
“I was just like, I'm not doing this, I'm not tapping,” revealed Thompson. “If this guy's gonna guillotine me, I'm gonna give this guy hell, but I ended up getting out, obviously his arms loosened up a little bit and I ended up popping my head out, but it was close in the beginning, but I told myself this-- there's no giving up here.”
Thompson was asked if he felt his performance in the fight, coupled with its unusual result, meant that an immediate rematch should be set between he and Woodley.
“Oh yes!” answered the now 13-1-1 fighter. “I think the fans and everybody were really excited. I think they were entertained, so definitely want to do that again.” Thompson then shrugged off the idea that 4th ranked Demian Maia or now double champion Conor McGregor should face Woodley next.
“It was a draw,” said Thompson. “I think we should do battle, and see who gets it, you know? It was a tie, so let's break that tie. And after we do it again - I will give anybody their title shot. Who ever deserves it next.”