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Stephen Thompson Appearance On “Submission Radio”

Stephen Thompson was a guest on “Submission Radio” recently and discussed his recent welterweight title fight with Tyron Woodley.

“Wonderboy” lost via decision to Woodley, a second consecutive time he was unable to secure the belt from the waist of the champion.

On what he’s been up to since the fight

“You know what, life is always good, man. Life is always good. I’m fired up, can’t wait to get back out there again and do it again, hopefully. I ended up injuring my knee in the fifth round and so I’m getting an MRI on it Monday. And even though (I’m injured) I’m back into training. I’m literally sitting on one of those medicine ball things and hitting the bag. So I’m doing what I can with what I got. But you know what, life’s good and I’m all smiles.”

What is wrong with Stephen’s knee

“Well in the fifth round he actually blitzed me in the fifth round and I ended up falling down. And as I was getting back up against the cage, he ends up smoking me with a right hand, back of the head. I ended up dropping right then. And the way I dropped, I fell back over my right knee kind of at an awkward angle. And I don’t know if you go back and watch it, but it ended up falling over the back of my right knee and we believe we have an MCL tear – not an ACL tear, but an MCL tear. And hopefully that’s all it is. I’m pretty sure the ACL’s intact, just making sure there’s no meniscus tears or anything like that. But it’s sore, still a little swollen, but you know, I’m itching to just get back out there and train and this is what I do, man. I do this every day and this is kind of hard for me just to kind of sit back and watch everybody else train. We’ve got guys from my gym that have fights coming up, so I’d like to be there for them as well.”

How soon until Stephen watched the fight from UFC 209

“As soon as the fight was over they had clips and bits and pieces up on the social media, so I immediately went back to my phone and went back and watched it. As soon as we landed back home on Monday – It was actually fairly, fairly late Sunday night. It was like 2am Monday morning – but we went to my parents’ house and my coaches and we watched it, man. We went back and watched it and we felt that we had it, but I guess we didn’t have it in the judges eyes. And man, I don’t know, I felt great. I think going out there, I had my right side forward, I was throwing Tyron off just a little bit, because the fight before that, the first fight, I kept my left side forward the whole time. So he just kept backing up and backing up and backing up and I was trying to throw feints out there to get him to come in, to get him to overcommit and me counter off of him and it was just very difficult to get him to do that. But you know, it is what it is and hopefully we’ll do it again another day.”

Why Woodley was able to hit Stephen and hurt him in the fifth round

“Well, I think he just kind of caught me off guard. I didn’t expect him to blitz and I think I was kicking. I was getting ready to throw a kick and as I lifted my leg, I think that’s when he blitzed and he just kind of knocked me down. As I was getting back up is when he hit me and I ended up falling over my knee. That’s what dropped me in the fifth round, kind of made me see stars. And it was a punch to the back of the noggin that did it. But you know, that was the punch that actually hurt. When he blitzed me I just kind of fell, and as soon as I popped back up, that’s when I got hit. And I think it was because he caught me in the middle of throwing a kick so I was off balance.”

With fans and Dana White saying he won the fight, if a part of Stephen feels like he should be holding the belt right now

“(Laughs) You know there’s always… I still get that feeling. I dream about that belt, man, and I’m not giving up. I know I can be welterweight champion and I’m gonna get out there and beat whoever I need to beat to get back up to that spot where I can fight for that title again. But yeah, man, I thought I had it. But there again like I said, when you’re fighting, you can’t leave it up to the judges, and I did, and that was on me.”

If Stephen feels like he can beat Tyron if they fought again

“Oh yeah, definitely. Definitely I feel I can go out there and I know I can beat him. I mean just in the last two fights, I know if just put forth just a little bit more effort and actually go out there and just do what I know I can do, just fight, you know, I know I can beat him. I know I can do it. And the fans do too. Of course, you’re out there being cautious, but sometimes you gotta grit your teeth, bite down on that mouth piece and go. And I didn’t do that in the last fight. And that’s something that I know if I go out there and do, then I’ll ended up winning. But the fight happened twice and I’ll fight who I gotta fight next and we’ll do it again.”

If Stephen feels that this fight changes the way he fights or if it’s a case where he can’t go out there and put himself in danger and it depends on the type of fighter and how the fight goes

“Yeah, I mean, you said it perfectly. Of course a lot of these guys, they’re fans. And we go out there to put on a show and that fight was very hesitant. A lot of martial artists thought it was a good fight, just kind of a chess match and just the anticipation of the whole thing because you didn’t really know what’s gonna happen and who was gonna blitz forward. But you gotta think out there. For me, I’m facing a very powerful guy who could drop you, knock you out with one punch. So you gotta be very cautious going out there, facing off against somebody like that and a guy strong enough that he could hold you down an entire round if he wanted to. He’s a powerful guy and so you gotta be hesitant out there and you can’t put yourself in those kind of situations. And taking shots from him is not a good thing, especially in the long run, you know, even after your career (is over) taking shots from him is not a good thing. So you know, all that’s kind of going through your head when you’re out there.”

If Stephen is concerned that as long as Woodley is champion, he won’t get another title shot because of how poorly the fight was received

“That could possibly be the case, but when I go out there and face these next opponents, whoever my next opponent is, I’m gonna finish him. I’m going out there to finish him. And of course I’ve said in the past, you can’t go out there looking for it, but you know what, I want to be able to put myself out there to where it’s gonna happen. I just gotta be exciting. I know I can go out there and I know I can defeat the top guys in the division, I just gotta go out there and do it, to prove to the UFC – hey, this guy’s an exciting fighter. He puts people away, let’s give him another shot.”

“So whoever’s next, man, you better watch out!”

If the loss to Woodley will stay on Stephen’s mind and if he feels he needs to avenge it

“You know what, yeah, that loss will always be there – kind of like the same one with Matt Brown. I still think about sometimes fighting Matt Brown again. But you know what, I passed him, I’ve got bigger and better things I’m going to. And same with Tyron. As long as he’s got the belt, that’s the guy I’m thinking about, that’s the guy that I wanna step out there and fight because I want that belt. So yeah, man, it doesn’t matter who I face off against next, that’s the guy that I’m focused on, is getting that belt.”

When Stephen would like to get back in and fight again

“I would like to get out there, shoot, next month if I could. But with the knee though, I’m not really sure what’s going on with that. My coaches wanted me to take some time off after taking big shots from Tyron, so we’ll see. Hopefully maybe July or August is the plan. So just right now I’m focused on things I need to work on, things I need to go back and get with my coaches. And there’s a lot of things during that fight we can go back and work on – you know, my reaction time, putting combinations together, my wrestling defence obviously. He ended up getting me down in that third round. I thought I did fairly well getting back up, but there’s always something I can go back and work on. I want to be better. I’ve been to the top of the game. A lot of guys who make it to where I was and not get that title, they just kind of fall to the wayside. You know, and I want to improve, I want to get better every day and go for that title again. That’s my goal and I’m not gonna give up on it.”

If there’s anyone like Robbie Lawler or Nick Diaz that interests Stephen next

“Those two names would be awesome. You got Robbie Lawler, you got Carlos Condit, you got Diaz. Any one of those guys would be awesome. So right now, all top five guys, I’m down. I’m down to go out there and put it all on the line, man. So those are top opponents and that’s why I’m in this sport of fighting the best guys in the world. To go back after my career (is over) years down the road, I’m talking to my grandkids and letting them know that I was one of the top athletes – or the welterweight champion, is what I want to say – and just let them know, hey, I faced the toughest guys in the world, toughest warriors in the world and was right there with them, man. And that’s why I do it, man. It’s awesome just to fight those guys. It’s an honour and definitely a privilege to be able to go out there and face off against some of the best fighters, best athletes in the world.”

If Stephen is hoping his road to the title is going to be shorter than his previous road

“Oh yeah, I’m definitely hoping that it’s gonna be a lot shorter. Not seven fights, but maybe two or three. Three at the most. If I go out there and prove to the UFC and the fans that I can finish these top guys, I believe we’ll get that shot.”

Stephen’s message to the fans

“I just want to tell them that I will be back, I will be a better fighter and I will not disappoint. I will get that title. And I just appreciate everything, all their support and everything that they (did in) supporting me and all the love that they showed me and I want to give that back through putting on awesome performances out there in the octagon.”

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