Tag Archive for Rematch

Stephen Thompson ‘very disappointed’ in rematch with Tyron Woodley, but is moving on

It would be easy for Stephen Thompson to lash out at the critics who panned his performance in his UFC 209 rematch loss to UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley.

After all, it wasn’t the fans or media who had a killer like Woodley starting at them from the other side of the Octagon.

“It’s little different when you’re out there, especially when you’re fighting a guy as powerful as Tyron Woodley,” Thompson said on a recent edition of The MMA Hour. “He can knock me into next week with one punch, and if he wanted to, he can take you down and hold you there. He’s got that kind of power, so you have to be fairly smart getting out there with someone like that.”

But it’s also not in Thompson’s nature to be bitter. So while he knows the score like only those who step into the Octagon can claim, he’s also not going to go too hard after people who criticized his performance in his majority-decision loss.

“You know, we’re in the entertainment business, and from the audience standpoint, it was a fairly slow fight,” Woodley said of the matchup in Las Vegas. “And they’re there to see people get knocked out.”

Thompson believes expectations were set to a high level based on their exciting first match-up, a majority draw which took Fight of the Night honors on a loaded card at Madison Square Garden for UFC 205. But what happened instead was that a pair of high-level fighters gleaned almost too much information on one another based on the first bout.

“I think they’re gauging it on what the first fight was like,” Thompson said. “It was pretty crazy. But then again, me and Tyron both learned a lot from each other, from the fight. So we both learned a lot about what to do and what not to do. For me it was, this guys going to be a little more aggressive going into this fight, I think he even said he was going to be more aggressive, so for him to commit and me counter off him, I didn’t expect him to back up off me pretty much the entire time.”

Meanwhile, Thompson admits Woodley’s approach during the second fight got into his head a little bit, which led to the bout becoming a stalemate which the crowd at T-Mobile Arena didn’t love.

“Since he was backing off me, I knew he was waiting for me to come in so I would run into his right hand, he ended up knocking me out twice in the first fight doing that,” Thompson said. “So, it was kind of like, it was very slow, that fight, but, then again, there was a reason for that, you know? There were times in there were I could have pressed it more going back and watching it, but it’s different going back and watching and saying ‘I should have done that, I should have done this.’ But when you’re out there, it’s completely different, you know?”

Thompson showed up for the post-fight press conference following the loss and put on a brave face in public. But while he has a decent poker face, he admits he was more disappointed than he let on. After all, both fights were razor-tight decisions, and with a judge here or there scoring another round in his favor in either fight, Thompson would be champ today.

“I was very disappointed,” Thompson said. “I’m fairly good at hiding it, but then again I’ve got a great support system around me, my family, and win or lose, when I go home my family is still going to love me, my students are still going to love me, and you know we’ll work our way back up. I’ve always been a very positive guy and move forward from things. You can’t look back or dwell on things.

Thompson, whose career record stands at 13-2-1 after the loss, recently underwent a surgical procedure to repair an injury to his MCL and meniscus and hopes to be back at it within four weeks.

In the meantime, after thinking about nothing but Tyron Woodley for the better part of half a year, and often being reduced to a secondary character as Woodley vented his frustrations about the his perceived treatment in the company, Thompson is quite eager to move on to new challenges.

“His hatred for me, I don’t think it was hatred, but a lot of it was hyping the fight, but the bad talk from him, it don’t know where was coming from with me,” Thompson said. “It was like, c’mon. It was kind of getting tiring, but it’s part of the game and that’s something I’ve experienced a little of at the highest level of the game. It’s nothing that Conor McGregor and his opponents have to go through, but, it was a little different. It was a little different. Right now I’m focused on healing up but I’m excited I’ll be facing a different opponent, a different look, someone different to prepare for. It’s going to be new and exciting.”

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Wilson Reis: Demetrious Johnson will deserve an immediate rematch after I submit him at UFC 210

Nine men have tried, and every single one has failed. Wilson Reis now has the chance to end UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson’s attempt to tie Anderson Silva’s all-time record in the Octagon, and he explains why he’s the right man for the job.

Winner of five of his six fights since cutting down to 125 pounds, Reis earned a shot at the UFC gold after a win over Dustin Ortiz in 2016, but an injury forced Johnson out of UFC 201. Reis added a couple more victories to his record after that, and feels in the end, the delay was positive for his career.

“I believe everything happens for a reason,” Reis told MMA Fighting. “The fight didn’t happen last year, it was canceled three weeks before, when I was super well-prepared, but I used this extra time really well. I fought twice, did two more training camps, and evolved a lot. I was ready then, and I believe I’m even better this time.”

Headlining a UFC event for the first time in his career, meeting Johnson at UFC on FOX 24 in Kansas City on April 15, Reis doesn’t feel any extra pressure ahead of his shot at the gold.

“This is the biggest fight or my career, for sure,” Reis said. “It’s the UFC belt. But that doesn’t change anything in the way I prepare for the fight. It’s still a training camp for a fight, so that doesn’t change much, no.”

When “Mighty Mouse” pulled out of UFC 201, the promotion changed plans and put the flyweight king to defend his gold against the winner of a Ultimate Fighter season. Tim Elliott earned the chance against Johnson, and almost pulled a huge upset with a scary submission early in the bout, but the champion survived to win a decision.

“What I saw in that fight is what I already knew,” Reis said. “The same openings I saw on the ground, he was exposed. That’s something I can work on. If you look at his game, what you can really work on in his jiu-jitsu. He’s good standing, his muay thai, and his wrestling is great, too, but the ground is the weakest aspect of his game. I wasn’t impressed. It actually confirmed what I already knew.”

Reis also has a not-so-secret weapon for his bout with Johnson. The Brazilian enters UFC on FOX 24 after training for seven years with Dominick Cruz, the only man to ever beat “Mighty Mouse” inside the Octagon.

“It helps a lot because Dominick Cruz talked to me about openings in his game, things that happened,” Reis said. “He shares that with me, and it helps a lot. He fought (Johnson) for five rounds and he knows a lot about his strength and cardio. But the good thing about it is that Dominick gives us so much confidence. Training with him every day is such an advantage for us.”

Almost 10 years after making his professional MMA debut, Reis looks back at everything he has experienced in the cages as he enters the biggest fight of his life.

“I never imagined it would be the way it was,” said Reis, who competed as a featherweight and bantamweight in the past. “I’m glad I got to this point. I want to win this belt and defend it many times. I want to do the same thing Demetrious Johnson did. Win the belt and defend it many times.”

Aside from “Mighty Mouse” (nine) and strawweight queen Joanna Jedrzejczyk (four), no other current UFC champion has more than two title defenses. As he plans on stopping Johnson’s title run, Reis makes bold predictions for his own future.

“I’m focused, confident and prepared,” Reis said. “I’ll win this fight and definitely rematch him right after. That’s how it will start. I want to dominate this division. After I defeat him, he deserves a rematch more than anyone for the multiple times he defended the belt.”

And how does one beat Johnson, who has looked unstoppable as a flyweight?

“I’ve envisioned this a thousand times,” Reis said. “I imagine this for two or three years already. Lights down, I walk to the Octagon. It’s always a beautiful moment, and I’m always confident in the victory.

“In my mind, it ends with a submission,” he continued. “That’s how I see it. A fight with a dominant submission. I’m ready for a war, but I don’t think it will be a war. I’ll put him in situations he never experienced before, and I will get this victory.”

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