It is tough to find guys to fight on the U.K. heavyweight and light heavyweight scene, according to former UFC mixed martial artist Oli Thompson. The 34-year-old Brit admits that it is hard to find regular action in the heavier MMA weight classes in the U.K. because of a small pool of fighters.
Thompson is dropping down to the 93-kilogram (205-pound) weight class for his fight with Brett McDermott at BAMMA 17 this December and looking to re-establish himself after a couple of defeats.
Thompson lost to impressive Albanian Gzim Selmani, now of Bellator, at BAMMA 15 in April, and then Poland’s Mariusz Pudzianowski at KSW in May, which sullied a couple of solid wins last year at heavyweight.
With McDermott on a two-fight win streak, Thompson is looking to use that momentum to re-establish his own career.
“I wouldn’t want to fight someone who wasn’t [winning]; it wouldn’t do anything for me,” he said. “This will also be a big opportunity for him to try and show what he is made of and make a name for himself. I am very aware of that.”
Thompson added that he would love to fight more often than he does, but it is not always a possibility at heavyweight and light heavyweight.
“I always want to fight more than I do,” he said. “But in this game, especially in the heavier weights, it is not always that simple. There are not that many guys and there are some that don’t want to fight you.
“In all sports,” he continued, “when you get past a certain weight, for example the 90-kilo mark, there are not many athletes.
“In boxing and MMA, when you look at the 70-kilo mark, there are hundreds of people and it is so hard for them to break through as they are in a big sea. As you get bigger, there are people that want to do it, but there are very few guys that are athletic.”
Thompson is still available for heavyweight bouts, but is looking to fire himself up with a new challenge at light heavyweight. Making himself available at both weight classes is a smart move for the Brit if he is to fight more regularly.
Thompson adds that there is a lot of excitement in the heavyweight divisions generally, although it is not always as technical as the lightweight guys.
“You don’t get much better value than guys like Mark Hunt and Roy Nelson,” said Thompson. “Hunt is probably one of my favorites, but they are both just mega-over-achievers.
“Those two guys are an example of specialists in their field, never mind they are both mega-tough. You have Mark Hunt and his stand-up skills. He is fearless, he takes hits and gives them back. And then there is Roy Nelson, who is one of the toughest guys out there, a high-level, legitimate grappler.
“Not looking behind their exterior can make you over confident; they are very dangerous.”
Referring to Hunt’s fight with Antonio Silva last year, Thompson added, “That is paying for your pay-per-view right there. Amazing, I love guys that can eat punches and show massive heart.”
Thompson is happy to be fighting for BAMMA. He has been in discussion with the promotion and is excited about the strategy they have planned over the next year.
“My future in Britain is certainly with BAMMA,” he said. “Working together and building something good, so I can show people what I want to show them. I am really excited to do that.”
(Photo by Artur Andrzej)