Stephen Thompson: ”Jag var besviken över att inte få en titelchans”
Stephen Thompson (12-1) kommer att ta sig an Rory MacDonald (18-3) på UFC Fight Night 89 och nu berättar han om hur det känns att bli bokad att gå match mot en vän.
Efter sin TKO-vinst över Johny Hendricks (17-4) på UFC Fight Night 82, trodde Thompson att han skulle bli bokad att gå match mot welterviktsmästaren Robbie Lawler (27-10), men kort efter sin senaste match blev Thompson bokad mot MacDonald. Thompson förklarar att han blev överraskad över det beslutet, men att han ändå ser fram emot matchen mot MacDonald.
“I was a little bit surprised,”berättade Thompson. “I was kind of bummed about it. Rory MacDonald had fought for it in July, and it’s almost like they’re kind of giving him a second crack at it, I guess. But he’s the No. 1 contender, he’s the only guy standing in my way, above me in the rankings. And if the UFC wants me to fight one more time, I’ll do it. What better guy to face off against? Not only is he a friend, but a phenomenal martial artist. So I’m training really hard to get up there and put on a show for everybody June 18th.”
Thompson berättar att efter att han har besegrat MacDonald kommer han att kräva en titelmatch.
“Oh no man, they have to give it to me,” sa han. “I’m demanding it after this fight. I never want to look past anybody, I know it could be a possibility, it could be around the corner, that title shot. But like I said, I try not to look past anybody. I got one guy I’m focused on, and I just gotta make sure I get past him before I even start thinking about that. Sometimes you get guys, they don’t worry about the guys standing in front of them at that moment. Just gotta stay focused, baby. Good training partners, my family around me to keep me focused and positive, it definitely helps.”
Thompson och MacDonald har tränat tillsammans förut, men att bli bokad att gå match mot en vän var inget som störde Thompson, utan det som gjorde honom upprörd var att han inte skulle gå match om titeln. Thompson förklarar också att han fortfarande kommer att vara vän med MacDonald efter deras match.
“Well actually, it was years ago [that I trained with MacDonald], to be honest with you,” sa han. “At the time, I wasn’t even doing MMA when I was up there at Tri-Star. I was just there specifically for Georges St-Pierre as a sparring partner. Me and Rory were in classes together, but we never actually did any sparring together. We did wrestling drills, things like that. And at the time, I was actually still learning the ground game. So it’s been awhile.
“I wasn’t really upset that the fact they were putting me up against Rory, it was just the fact they weren’t giving me the title shot at the time. We do have a good relationship, me and the guys at Tri-Star. Love those guys. Firas Zahabi, Aiemann, Georges, Rory MacDonald. We’ve fought on the same cards and whenever we do that, we see each other and like to sit and chat. We’ve been on a few media tours together.
“We kind of understand at this level of the game when you work your way up to the top there’s a possibility you may be facing somebody you’ve trained with before. And we both understand that it’s business. We were friends before, we’re gonna be friends after. And that’s what makes it so exciting, as well. We have trained together, we know each other fairly well, so it’s going to be exciting to see what kind of Rory I’ll be facing.”
Foto: Mazdak Cavian