Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson thought he did enough.
Enough to beat Tyron Woodley in the main event of UFC 209 at T-Mobile Arena in Paradise, Nevada, to win the welterweight championship of the world, but the judges cage side felt differently. As such, the judges awarded a majority decision to Woodley.
“Disappointed, man,” Thompson said. “I worked my whole life to get here. I thought I won the fight, but you can’t leave it in the judges’ eyes, so that was on me.
“Me and my coaches, we thought I had it. We thought I had it, and then, once they started calling out the scorecards and they said they had a split decision, that’s when my stomach kind of dropped a little bit. I was like, ‘This could go the other way.’ Then, he said, ‘And still,’ and I was like, ‘Man…’ You always go back and say, ‘I should’ve done this and should’ve done that,’ but what matters is what you do out there then and that’s on me.”
A late flurry of punches from Woodley seemingly allowed him to retain the welterweight championship, as he took home a majority decision by winning the fight on a pair of judges’ scorecards. The third judge scored the bout a 47-47 draw.
Woodley outpointed Thompson, 70-66, in overall strikes and 54-53 in significant blows. Also, Woodley landed one of his two takedown attempts and had a knockdown in the fight’s final minute. In addition to landing a higher volume of punches, Woodley was more effective, connecting on 49 percent of his shots and 43 percent of his significant strikes.
Conversely, Thompson landed at a 41 percent rate and did not have either a knockdown or takedown of Woodley.
“I definitely thought I had three rounds,” Thompson said. “I know he took me down, I think, it was in the third round, but stood back up. He landed some punches, but they didn’t hurt.
“Tyron’s a big guy. He’s very strong. He’s got a mean right hand. He’s got good takedowns, is very strong in the clinch position, so I had to play it smart out there and try to pick him apart, use my sidekicks and jab, throwing leg kicks.”
After back-to-back title bouts against Woodley, Thompson does not yet know what is next for his career.
“I’m a fighter,” Thompson said. “I want to fight whoever, but I want to go back and talk with my coaches to see if we should take some time off or if we should get another fight. It’s kind of up to us. We want to congregate and see what we can get going.”
Although Thompson, his team and the UFC will figure out what is next for him, the karate expert from South Carolina feels he could once again work his way into the championship picture.
“I could see myself fighting for that title again,” Thompson said. “I’m not giving up, so we’re going to go back to the drawing board. I’m 34. I’m a young 34, so I’ve got plenty of time, I believe.”
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