When it was announced that Stephen Thompson was going to fight former UFC welterweight champion Johny Hendricks in the co-main event of what was then UFC 196, most figured Thompson was in for the fight of his life.
In the minutes leading up to what eventually became the main event of UFC Fight Night, many an expert still believed that he was probably in way over his head.
So much for that.
As it turned out, “Wonderboy” looked more like Superman inside the Octagon as he electrified MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas with his biggest win to date. The former kickboxer picked apart Hendricks with an array of strikes from the outside; as soon as he had “Bigg Rigg” wobbled, Thompson ended the duel.
“I came out here to put on a good show,” a jubilant Thompson said following his triumph. “Hopefully everyone was impressed. I knew he was going to try to get me up against the cage and set up for the takedown, but I didn’t look for the knockout. I just let it happen.
“Hopefully I’ll get that title shot, baby,” he added. “That’s what I want.”
Though nothing was announced at the post-fight press conference, it is not hard to imagine the 32-year-old receiving next crack at current 170-pound king Robbie Lawler. Thompson has lost just once in his career, and with the torrid streak that he is on at the moment, there appears to be no slowing him down.
“I know what I’m capable of,” Thompson said. “I had all the confidence in the world and I knew it was going to happen. Once I was comfortable, I knew I had him. I (followed) the gameplan and it worked perfectly.
“I want that title. This is my year... After that performance, I think I deserve it.”