This is about as angry as Stephen Thompson is going to get.
The mild-mannered "Wonderboy" expressed his emotions about the possibility of not getting a title shot next with Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour this past Monday. Tyron Woodley, the UFC's new welterweight champion, has said he would prefer to face either Georges St-Pierre or Nick Diaz, both big financial draws, in his first title defense, rather than Thompson, the No. 1 contender.
"If they don't give this to me, then something is really wrong," Thompson said. "Wouldn't you say? ... i just think it's kind of crap that he won't take it."
Thompson (13-1) has done everything in his power to earn a title shot. He has won seven straight and his huge wins against Rory MacDonald and Johny Hendricks in his last two bouts. Against Hendricks, Thompson finished by TKO in the first round. "Wonderboy" is the unequivocal top contender to the belt.
On the other hand, Woodley is interested in making as much money as he can. St-Pierre, the legend and former longtime champion, and Diaz are far bigger names than Thompson.
"Wonderboy" doesn't believe Woodley should have that kind of choice since he just won the title from Robbie Lawler by first-round TKO last Saturday in the main event of UFC 201.
"You just got the title," Thompson said. "Fight the No. 1 contender. You go out there and smoke the No. 1 contender, then you can start talking about who you want to fight. A lot of people think you're not the champion until you defend it one time. Right off the bat, just start picking who you're fighting? That's ridiculous. Defend it one time. Let the No. 1 contender get in there. Prove yourself that you just won the title."
Thompson, 33, spoke with Woodley right after he won the title Saturday. "Wonderboy" was working as analyst on the FS1 post-fight show and Woodley came on as a guest. When Thompson asked Woodley about a potential fight between the two of them, Woodley shut him down quickly. Thompson was stunned.
"In my head," Thompson said, "I was like, ‘Really? You're kidding me, right? That you wouldn't give me the shot?' I mean, yeah he went out there, he defeated Robbie Lawler, but he took this fight and a lot of people didn't think he deserved it in the first place. But seconds after winning the title, already choosing his fights? I mean, c'mon. Who gets that? Who really gets to do that? You're starting to see that a lot more. It's almost like, do the rankings really count? Do they really matter?"
Despite Woodley's words, Thompson is remaining confident. He doesn't believe he needs to do anything else to cinch that title opportunity. And he wants it to come at UFC 205 in Madison Square Garden, the UFC's first event in New York City after the state ban was lifted earlier this year.
"I don't think he's scared of me, but it almost seems like he doesn't want to fight me," Thompson said. "He just doesn't want to step in the ring. I don't know if he thinks it's a bad matchup. But no matter what, man, I'm fighting Tyron. I'm fighting Tyron Woodley and it's gonna be at Madison Square Garden. No ifs, ands, or buts. C'mon guys. C'mon UFC, c'mon Tyron."
The idea that Woodley wants to fight St-Pierre, who is in a state of semi-retirement, or Diaz, who was just cleared of an 18-month marijuana suspension, doesn't sit well with Thompson at all. Not when "Wonderboy" feels like he has been working hard toward this for years and beaten the other elites in the division.
"He is the champ and I am the No. 1 contender," Thompson said. "Stop calling people out that haven't fought in a year or three years. Fight the guy who's ready, man. Fight the guy who's earned it this year."