Former welterweight champion Johny Hendricks stepped into the Octagon at UFC Fight Night 82 on Saturday night looking to get back into title contention, but Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson had other plans, and he executed them to perfection.
Hendricks did a good job in the opening moments of the fight, closing the distance and taking Thompson to one knee up against the fence, where he landed several punches to the face and knees to the thigh. But that would be the end of his success.
After Thompson slipped Hendricks’ grip, he spent the next couple minutes using his length and reach advantage, not to mention his unique striking style, to keep Hendricks at the end of his fists and feet.
Every time Hendricks tried to move forward, Thompson shoved a stiff jab in his face, and then followed with an assortment of kicks, constantly moving around the Octagon, making himself an impossible target.
Around the three-minute mark, Hendricks moved in again, trying to close the gap, and ate a right hand that visibly shook him. Thompson then backed him to the fence with punches and landed a brutal spinning back kick to the body that staggered Hendricks.
Although Hendricks looked as physically fit as he ever has coming into this fight, he had no answer for what Thompson brought to the cage. Thompson’s elusive movement and dynamic striking from every angle left Hendricks stymied and Thompson being touted as the next coming in the welterweight division.
With another knockout to his credit, Thompson, like many pundits, believes he is ready for a shot at the belt.
“I came out here to put on a good show. Hopefully everyone was impressed,” said Thompson after the fight.
“Hopefully we get that title shot baby. That’s what I want.”