Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson talks potential Tarec Saffiedine matchup

61f9e7fc98b11beda1f7427d58379565UFC welterweight Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson is coming off an impressive TKO victory over Jake Ellenberger at the TUF 21 finale on July 12th. Thompson (11-1) spoke to MMAOddsBreaker on The Parting Shot Podcast and discussed a variety of topics.   Ellenberger win being the most satisfying victory of his career  “I’d definitely say so. It was my first main event, fighting a #9 ranked fighter. Knocking him out the way I did it’s definitely my best fight so far. Every time I go out there, I don’t look for the knockout, I just try to let it happen. I went out there put my gameplan that we worked on during on the camp [into effect] Ended up getting knocked down in the first round with his right hand, but you know what I recovered very well. Went out there did my thing, hit him with that spinning hook kick not just one, but two. Ended up putting him away, it’s definitely a memorable moment.”   How many times he watched the fight  “To be honest I watched it one time. Every time after a fight, even after a first round knockout. Me and my coaches we all get together, we go back and see what I could have done better or if I was in a wrong position at the time. Like in this last fight when I got knocked down with a right hand I was in a bad position. So we always go back to try and critique and make things better. ”   Post fight celebration “Of course we were in Vegas at the time and I had my whole family there. I’m a family guy so every time after a fight I like to go hangout with them. We just found a pizza and beer stuff and hung out then. I did some peperoni, black olives and mushrooms, along with a left hand milk style beer.”   Best message he got following the win  “It was actually from my teammates back at Upstate Karate and Team Pitch Black. They all got together and sent a video, because a lot of those guys couldn’t make it, just congratulating me. Just letting me know that they’re there in and outside of training camp. That really meant a lot; I try and be there for them. They sacrifice a lot for me, you know if it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t be where I am. So it did really mean a lot when they sent that message, it was pretty cool.”   When he returned to training  “I did have some injuries, like to my heel. After I hit him with that last spin hook kick I thought I broke my heel but I had a deep bone bruise I couldn’t’ put any weight on it. I was right back into training camp, I didn’t do any sparring but I was doing some strength and conditioning. Trying to keep the cardio up just to stay active you know because if I don’t, a lot of times you’re cutting so much weight but that when you get back you want to eat and all of a sudden you’re back up to 200lbs. We just don’t want to do that.”   Return to the Octagon “We were thinking about getting back in the cage in December. This past Friday I just had knee surgery, again, it was the fourth surgery on my left knee. It was an old injury where they had repaired some meniscus, so they had to go in and scope it.  So it was in and out, but the knee was swollen so we were looking at December. But just found out all the cards in December are all stacked, you know I wanted to be on that big show with Conor McGregor and Chris Weidman. That seemed like a really cool show to be on. But as it stands right now I don’t have an opponent, all the Top 6 guys already have fights. But hopefully we’ll get something in January.”   Training with Chris Weidman and the influence he has had on his career  “[Weidman] has already contacted me and he’s making sure that I’m all healed up from my knee injury. Hoping I can make it out in November. There is no 170lb fighter in my division that’s as strong as Chris. He’s a champion for a reason. Just to be able to go out there and be a part of his camp. Him coming to South Carolina and helping me for my [training camp] has been tremendous. I always try to keep myself surrounded with positive people, he’s definitely that. He’s definitely upped my game; he just teaches me a whole other meaning of grind. When he’s sparring with you, he pushes you to your limits. That’s what I need, especially at the top of the game.”   Potential Matt Brown rematch  “It is my only loss, Matt Browns a good fighter man. Tried to fight with him, but he’s fighting Kelvin Gastelum, which is no worries. I think if it happens, it going to happen. If I jump past him then I jump past him no worries. I think we put on an exciting fight in Atlanta and hopefully we can do that again.”   Why Tarec Saffiedine matchup makes sense next  “Right now we’re looking at Tarec Saffiedine. Nothing’s really final yet but I just know the Top 6 guys already have fights. [Tarec] a stand-up guy and I think it would be an exciting fight for the UFC and the fans as well. That’s one of the reasons why I wanted it. He’s a stand-up guy, I saw him put on a good performance against Nate Marquardt. We’re both stand-up fighters, different styles. I think my style will work great against him. I know he’s a blackbelt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Wherever the fight goes I’m going to be ready for it. We’re going to keep it standing. If we fight, somebody is going to get knocked out. I mean he’s got power in his kicks and hands. That’s why he’s one of the Top 10 guys. I would definitely like to fight him and hopefully get another knockout of the night.”   Thoughts on being ranked 8th in the welterweight division  “Of course as a fighter is my goal is to have that belt around my waist. As of right now, I’m confident in where I’m at, where I sit. I’m just going to work my butt off to work my way up and do it as long as my body [will let me] If I have to fight the #9 guy or #7 guy to get where I’m going to be, I just think it’s going to help me more when I do get to the championship level. I’m not trying to rush anything.”   Being overlooked in the division  “I don’t feel that way. Maybe some fans feel that way like I said I’m happy where I’m at. My goal is to have that belt around my waist. Eventually if I’m not recognized, I will be. Get out there, keep having exciting fights, keep kicking dudes in the head and hopefully we’ll get there.”   How this fight ends on September 19th “I see it ending in a knockout. I think it’s going to be one of those fights where we’re both going to bang it out and I’m going to end up catching him.”   Thoughts on the IV Ban  “I don’t think it’s going to affect me as much. It does make you feel better, much faster than doing it orally. They say the reason they are doing that is because it masks some supplements or stuff you could be taking at the time, but I don’t see that happening. We’re just going to have to go about out weight cut a bit different, do it orally.  I think walking around at a lighter weight may help out a little bit. That’s what I’m doing right now; I’m walking around 188lbs-190lbs.  A lot of these welterweights, the Top 5 guys are walking around 200lbs. I did that one time and it about killed me. Actually my weight cut against Matt Brown, I was walking around 210lbs and tried to cut down to 170lbs and it about killed me. I’ll never do that again.”   How often he’d like to fight  “Right now I’m taking it as it is. I would love to fight every three months if I could. But you know I’ve been fighting since I was 15 years old. I’ve already had four surgeries on my left knee and I’m just going to do it as long as my body will let me. Our sport’s rough, when I fought kickboxing I was fighting every weekend. It’s just that you have to prepare for so many things. I could kickboxing all day long, I could roll all day, but when it comes to wrestling it’s a rough grind. Most of the time whenever I’m injured in training camp, it’s because of wrestling. But if I can get more fights next year, I’d definitely do it.”     You can follow Stephen on Twitter @WonderboyMMA and you can listen to the full audio version of this interview on Episode 123 of The Parting Shot Podcast on September 20th 

Written by James Lynch

Leave a Reply

September’s UFC Chop List: 13 Fighters Removed from Roster

Invicta FC 14 Closing Odds and Results