Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson always has his sights set on the ultimate prize in the sport — the UFC welterweight championship.
Unfortunately, Thompson came up short on two separate occasions to take the title away from reigning champion Tyron Woodley but that doesn’t mean he’s giving up on the belt.
Instead, Thompson is more dedicated than ever before to get back to the gold, even if that means taking on an up and coming talent like Darren Till in his hometown as he’ll do on Sunday in Liverpool.
A few months ago, Woodley called Thompson a ‘gatekeeper’ to the title and while that might sound like a slight, the 35-year old South Carolina native actually takes that as a compliment.
“I look at that as a compliment to be honest with you. I think he knows and I think that a lot of the other welterweights know that they do have to get past me,” Thompson told MMAWeekly. “Right now they do have to get past me to get to that level to fight for the title.”
That fight will not only determine the No. 1 contender in the division but the winner will be crowned interim champion with Woodley sidelined due to injury.
Well in all actuality, Woodley has said he would be ready to return as early as August, which begs the question about why the UFC is opting to introduce an interim title in June?
“Wonderboy” has the same inquiry because in his mind an interim title doesn’t make any sense, especially with the champion already saying when he’ll be ready to fight again.
“I don’t like it. I don’t like that decision,” Thompson said. “They’re just handing out interim titles left and right. To me that’s a touchy subject because if [Tyron] says he’s ready to fight in August, why even have an interim title? Why even have it? Just say the next guy is going to get the title shot. Why even have the interim title?
“The interim titles are not doing good for the actual title holder. He just diminishes the value of it.”