After falling short of his goal of winning the UFC welterweight title, Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson gives an update on his surgery, Gunnar Nelson and what he wants next.
Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson fell short in his second attempt to capture UFC gold, losing to reigning champ Tyron Woodley via majority decision in the main event of UFC 209 earlier this month.
Thompson walked out of the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas with his head held high. He also walked out quite gingerly as he suffered a knee injury in the fifth round of the bout. Thompson had successful surgery and doesn’t expect to be on the sidelines very long.
“It actually happened in the fight during the fifth round,” Thompson said while appearing on the SFLC Podcast. “He blitzed me and I was falling down, I was getting back up to my feet, and I think I was turning to my right. I ended up getting a shot to the back of the head and I ended up falling straight down on my leg, kind of at an awkward angle. When I went back and watched I found out that’s where I ended up hurting my knee. But I didn’t know it was hurt until about two to three hours after that fight, and the adrenaline wore off. I was like, ‘man, something’s wrong with my knee.’ I have had knee procedures done in the past so I knew something wasn’t right.
“I actually had an MCL tear and a slight meniscus tear on my right leg. So they went in and scoped it out. It was an arthroscopic procedure so it was in and out, back in physical therapy today. I’m feeling good, they said 4-6 weeks would be the healing time but I’m predicting it will be faster than that.”
‘Wonderboy’ is the still the no.1 ranked welterweight in the UFC. While Thompson has accepted the loss and is ready to see what lies ahead on his road back to a title shot, it doesn’t mean that he feels he lost the fight with Woodley.
“I went back, me and the coaches, we watched the fight numerous times,” Thompson said. “We thought we had it; still do to this day. But sometimes, you don’t get a say-so in it. It is what it is. Hopefully these next two fights, depending on who it will be, we’ll be back up there fighting for the title again. Staying positive, always have been, just itching to get back to training and back out in the octagon. That belt is still on my mind. You see a lot of guys, they fight for the title, and they fall to the wayside, that’s not going to be me.”
Where does Thompson go from here on the path to another shot at the belt? That’s an interesting question, which has featured a suggestion from John Kavanagh, the longtime coach of Conor McGregor, and the no.9 ranked Gunnar Nelson. After Nelson submitted Alan Jouban in the second round of their bout over the weekend in London, Kavanagh took to twitter to stir the pot for a potential Thompson-Nelson showdown.
— Coach Kavanagh (@John_Kavanagh) March 19, 2017
Thompson has heard the rumblings among MMA media and fans alike. However, he has his eyes set on a pair of top-five, former welterweight champions.
“I’m looking to fight a top-ranked guy or two,” Thompson said. “I know there’s a lot of talk about Gunnar Nelson. I think he’s ranked number nine, I’m looking at one through five fight now. I know Demian Maia has a fight coming up with Masivdal. Hopefully (Carlos) Condit, you hear word about him retiring. I’ve always wanted to step out with him, or even Robbie Lawler. I think Gunnar Nelson fights one of those top guys, proves himself that he’s able to go up there. I think in the future we’ll be facing each other but right now it’s those top five guys that I’m looking at.”
Thompson, at this point, sees Nelson as a future opponent. But that doesn’t mean the fight couldn’t happen right now in this crazy sport of MMA.
“It is what it is, if there’s nobody to fight in the top five, then we may be facing each other,” Thompson said. “You never know. But I’m looking at Condit or Robbie Lawler.