On February 6, 2016, at UFC 196 Werdum vs. Velasquez II, live from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas Nev., Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson (11-1) will face his toughest opponent yet in the co-main event, when he faces off against former welterweight champion Johny “Bigg Rigg” Hendricks (17-3). Thompson is currently riding a five-fight win streak, with knockouts over Jake Ellenberger and Chris Clements, along with a TKO victory over Robert Whitacker. Hendricks, on the other hand, is 2-2 in his last four fights and is looking to show the world that he still belongs at the top of the division.

Leading into the fight with Hendricks, Thompson is taking time out of his training schedule to do a weekly blog with Press Box Insider on Mile High Sports Radio and TheMMACorner.com. In the first edition of Thompson’s weekly blog, Stephen and his father and coach Ray Thompson sat down with Josh Davis of Press Box Insider and The MMA Corner to discuss his reaction to being offered the fight with Hendricks, what a win would mean for his career and whether or not is was the right fight to take for his career.

“Honestly, I found out about a week to a week and a half ago that we would be fighting Johny and I am super excited,” Ray Thompson told Press Box Insider. “Wonderboy is at the point in his career where he is going to have to step up and take whatever fight is given to him. If he is going to make it to that number spot he is going to have to fight wrestlers and jiu jitsu guys and there is no better time than now to give it a chance,” Thompson stated.

For many, taking a co-main event fight against Hendricks at UFC 196 would be a no-brainer, but for Thompson there were some concerns and it had nothing to do with Hendricks’ overhand right. “When he first pitched it to us, it was right before Thanksgiving and of course, we said yes, but we weren’t really sure where Johny Hendricks’ weight was and with Thanksgiving coming up so it kind of felt odd we didn’t hear anything for a while and then about two weeks ago they were like ‘hey UFC 196 you are fighting Johny Hendricks’ and I was actually kind of nervous but at the same time really excited because he was a former welterweight champion and that’s my job. I love to fight. I want to fight the world’s best and he is definitely one of them. I am a little nervous, though, because he is a banger and he does have some of that one hitter quitter knockout power, but that’s what we do, baby, and we are here to fight the best,” shared Stephen.

Usually in the world of the UFC, when you get an opportunity like this and are successful, it usually leads to even greater opportunities and that is exactly what Thompson is thinking, “I go out here and I beat him with a spectacular knockout, hopefully, my next fight will be a title fight.”

If Wonderboy is going to get by Hendricks and get his opportunity to fight for a title, both he and his father know that much of it will come down to game planning and which fighter is able to implement their game plan and impose their will. “It’s kind of an obvious situation, you have the classic striker versus wrestler. We know that Johny is going to try and come hard, he is going to try and bomb us with his left and use it to set up his takedowns and our only recourse is to defend that takedown and work in strikes of our own.  Really it is kind of like a no-brainer, what else can you do?” Ray Thompson stated.

It is the age ole saying “styles make fights” and that is exactly the situation that Wonderboy finds himself in as he begins preparation for this fight. If he is able to implement his style and use his strikes, he has a good chance of coming out on top, but nobody in the welterweight division wants the “Bigg Rigg” laying on top of them, dropping down some ground and pound. No matter how the fight plays out, Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson will be prepared and will give it all he has.

For the full interview with Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson and his father/coach Ray Thompson click here.

For the full episode of Press Box Insider click here.

About The Author

Josh Davis
President and Site Director

Josh Davis is the owner and President of The MMA Corner, LLC. He has been a fan of mixed martial arts since seeing UFC 1 in his hometown. In addition to his The MMA Corner responsibilities, Josh is the editor of Scrapp! Fight Magazine. Josh has also written for MMA Unleashed and MMA Sports magazines. Josh also manages some of Colorado's best up and coming fighters and is dedicated to the positive promotion of the sport.