Stephen Thompson was brilliant on Saturday night at UFC Vegas 17 as he closed out the final the show of the year with unanimous decision victory over Geoff Neal. In their 25 minute contest the judges scored every single round for “Wonderboy” as he looked quick, sharpe and very accurate on the feet.
Despite a one sided victory, Thompson was a bit banged afterwards. A clash of heads early tin the fight opened cuts on both fighters. Thompson, who was wearing his blood for the majority of the fight, had more problems than just the cut.
At the end of the fourth round, Thompson limped back to the corner and put ice on his leg in-between the round. When the final round started you could see swelling above the former title challenger’s knee.
Thompson (16-4-1) missed out on 2020 until now due to injuries and as soon as he his fight was over he went to the UFC post-fight show with for an interview with the ESPN broadcast team in which Thompson was on crutches. He said he’s hoping it’s nothing serious, but it’s going to take a few days to tell how serious the injury actually is.
“It could be a muscle tear here, which is balled up,” Thompson said on the show. “If you saw me, I forgot which round it was, I was picking my knee up because I thought this was my kneecap, the bulge on my leg. But I think it’s muscle that’s balled up. Staying positive. Hopefully it’s not that bad.”
Thompson is one of the nicest guys in the sport. At one point in the fight, he punched Neal in the face and asked him if he was okay afterwards. Following the fight, he gave Neal and camp a lot praise.
“I thought I was going to be able to piece him up more,” Thompson said. “Cause I know he’s the type of guy to come forward and a lot of guys that pressure you end up running into things. He ended up running into a few things but he stayed protected and I couldn’t get him out of position. Normally with the movement, I could feel he was getting frustrated and sometimes those guys put themselves in bad positions and that’s when I can take advantage of that. He did not.Whoever he’s been working with is keeping him nice and tight and he felt really good and strong. Out pointed him, came out with the win and moving forward.”
As for what’s next, Thompson has an idea. ESPN reported Ariel Helwani crowned Thompson the NMF belt for Nicest Mother F—. He wants to square off again with the BMF champion Jorge Masvidal, who Thompson defeated in 2017.
“Well No. 1, I know he was interested if he had won the fight against [Kamaru] Usman the first time, he said he would want to defend [the title] against me,” Thompson said. “I know he wants that win back. It’s crazy because he inspires me to keep moving forward, to keep pushing because it wasn’t that long ago I beat him at UFC 217 and now he’s one of the most popular guys in the UFC. Ranked higher than me. I thought we put on a good show the first time and why not do it again?”