Having suffered a fractured orbital bone against Lashley, Thompson was forced to sit around and wait, which lead to malcontent. Thankfully, though, he decided to not step away and returned earlier this year with a TKO over Colin Robertson in March.
“I did feel a bit rusty, but it was nice, a good feeling,” said Thompson. ‘I don’t like the nerves, but I like them, it’s sort of that weird in between feeling that you can only get when someone’s trying to take your head off. I enjoyed that and enjoyed myself.”
Just how close was Thompson to calling it a career?
“I thought I didn’t want to do it anymore and I almost announced (my retirement),” said Thompson. “My wife knows I can be quite reactionary sometimes, so I held back from announcing it, but I almost did. I kind of lost the desire for it, but I’ve come back and I really enjoy it. “
Thompson told MMAWeekly.com that not only does he feel rejuvenated, but after changing gyms, he feels like a completely new fighter.
“I’m with a new gym and I’ve made some great improvements,” he said. “The thing I’m excited about the most, I’ve improved a lot. But I just want to get this (upcoming) fight out of the way, get to the tournament, keep working in the gym and show everyone some big improvements.
“I’m back on the big stage, things are going to plan – almost in a spooky way – so I’m not asking questions, I’m just ready to take advantage of it.”
As Thompson (19-14) mentioned, he will be stepping up into Bellator for his first fight on U.S. soil in nearly eight years against former heavyweight tournament winner Eric Prindle (8-5) this Friday in Thackerville, Okla.
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“He’s a big, strong guy, has knockout power, but I don’t think he’s trained as hard as me – I know he hasn’t,” said Thompson of Prindle. “He’s very linear and one-dimensional in the way he comes at you. I’ve got to keep the fight moving and keep him on his toes.
“I want to get the fight to the ground – though I’m not afraid to stand with him – but I give him more chances when he’s standing up, especially with his power. So I’m going to go out and get him on the back as quickly as possible without rushing it and let nature take its course… which means devouring him.”
Having come a long way in his career and fought all over the world, Thompson truly feels he’s at his best now and can’t wait to show the world what type of fighter he’s become.
“I know you hear it all the time that someone says they’re the best they’ve ever been, but come fight time you don’t see anything at all,” he said. “But I’m serious, I’m not giving you any crap at all, I’ve changed and I’m different in a lot of ways and people will see that Friday.”