LOS ANGELES -- Stephen Thompson found himself in as deep trouble as you’ll ever see a fighter get without being finished in the fourth round of his memorable UFC 205 fight with Tyron Woodley.
In that round at Madison Square Garden, Woodley, the UFC welterweight champion, twice dropped Thompson with hellacious right hands. Later in the round, Woodley got Thompson into a tight guillotine choke.
It looked like the end was near for Thompson. Instead, not only did he improbably get out of the choke, but he managed to regain his composure and win the fifth round.
That second wind enabled Thompson to gain a majority draw with the champion, which leads to their rematch at UFC 209 in Las Vegas.
When asked how he managed to get through when he seemed to be on his way out, the fighter nicknamed “Wonderboy,” who has never lost via finish in either his MMA or kickboxing careers, said it was simply a matter of focus and pride.
“There were a few times in previous fights where I was hurt,” Thompson said. “It’s just a matter of not giving up, if you know what I’m saying. No matter how much it hurts, you gotta stay focused on what you’re there for and your goals, just don’t give up. There were a lot of fans there that night and I feel I made a lot of new fans.”
While Thompson is rightly proud to have survived deep waters against a shark like Woodley, he’s also man enough to admit it he had a really bad round. Thompson doesn’t disagree with those who believe the round should have been scored 10-8 in Woodley’s favor.
“I’m willing to admit round four was 10-8,” Thompson said. “For me, it was [me winning] round two, round three, and round five. A draw was fair.”