Stephen Thompson had not gone back to watch his fight with Darren Till as of Tuesday when he was a guest on The MMA Hour. He will do so, though, and there’s a few points in the bout he said he is very interested in watching back.
One in particular happened in the second round of the UFC Liverpool main event Sunday. Thompson feels like Till landed a kick directly on his left knee and “Wonderboy” said he was not the same the rest of the fight.
“It was almost like this dude was trying to put me out,” Thompson told Ariel Helwani. “He hit me in the knee and after that my movement was pretty much out the window. I was more focused on keeping my knee — it was just another thing to think about out there.”
Thompson said he has had surgery on that leg multiple times and he came out of the bout with a lot of swelling. “Wonderboy” said he could walk on it, but he had to keep the knee bent.
On the show, Thompson said he was unsure if targeting the knee with a kick like that is legal. It is indeed a legal place to strike, but that’s probably no solace for the welterweight contender, who ended up losing a razor-close unanimous decision in Till’s hometown.
“Hopefully it’s nothing major,” Thompson said. “But it sucks, man. It really does. Disappointed by the whole situation and then coming out of it with an injury like that, it makes it all worse.”
It was the knee issue that kept Thompson from executing the kind of offense he wanted to, he said. And the fifth round — when “Wonderboy” got dropped in the most one-sided round for Till — the knee was at its worst point.
“It was more trying to keep my leg from collapsing than anything,” Thompson said. “It just really felt unstable in that fifth round.
“I was trying to hit the guy hard, I really was. I just was unable to put myself in a situation to do so.”
Till missed weight by 3-1/2 pounds leading into the bout and Thompson acknowledged that it was noticeable how big Till was in the cage.
“When you make contact [with an opponent], you can tell you’re pretty much the same size,” Thompson said. “When I would kick or even side kick or even try to punch Darren Till, you could tell that he was a pretty solid dude. You can’t really see it in his upper body, but you can see it in his lower body. He’s thick — thick guy.”
Despite Till’s missing weight and allegedly targeting Thompson’s knees, “Wonderboy” does not think ill of the Englishman. He doesn’t believe Till is a dirty fighter, he said.
“It could have just been his misjudgment,” Thompson said of the kick to his knee. “I don’t think bad or negative about people, but when I was out there I felt like he was going for the knee.”