Stephen Thompson (16-4-1) is currently ranked number five in the UFC welterweight division. The American MMA fighter is a kickboxing black belt and a BJJ brown belt. Before making his UFC debut in 2012, 'Wonderboy' was an accomplished kickboxer.
On his way to becoming a multi-division national amateur kickboxing champion, Stephen Thompson had 58 bouts, losing none. He is considered one of the best strikers in the UFC owing to his kickboxing background.
The 38-year-old MMA fighter recently appeared on one of the most popular podcasts, the Joe Rogan Experience. Thompson spoke with Rogan about several things at length, giving his fans an exclusive sneak-peek into his life and mind.
In this article, therefore, we look at five things we learned from Stephen Thompson's appearance on the Joe Rogan Experience.
#5 - Stephen Thompson was relieved after getting KO'd by Anthony Pettis
Stephen Thompson fought Anthony Pettis (24-10-0) in the main event at UFC Fight Night 148 in 2019. The first round saw Thompson dominate Anthony Pettis, who even started bleeding from the beating that 'Wonderboy' put him through.
However, with just five seconds remaining in the second round, Pettis KO'd Stephen Thompson with a brilliantly-timed superman punch. Defeating 'Wonderboy', Anthony Pettis handed him the first knockout loss of his entire career.
Speaking at the Joe Rogan Experience, Stephen Thompson revealed that he was relieved to finally be on the receiving end of a KO. He told Joe Rogan,
"It wasn't even hard. I've been hit harder.. This was just right on the button. To be honest, it was a relief getting knocked out. I mean I've got close to 80-something fights with kickboxing and MMA together and I've never been knocked out. It was always one of those, 'this is gonna be it.. this is gonna be the time I get knocked out' this was always going through my head. And now that it happened, its not that bad (laughs). I'd rather get knocked out than get the cra*p beaten out of me for five five-minute rounds."
#4 - Stephen Thompson and Jorge Masvidal planned for their fight during a UFC event
In June 2017, UFC Fight Night 111 took place in Singapore with Holly Holm, Colby Covington, Rafael Dos Anjos, etc. present on the main card. Attending the venue as guest fighters were Stephen Thompson, Jorge Masvidal, Juliana Pena, and host Dan Hardy.
Speaking at the Joe Rogan Experience, Stephen Thompson revealed that it was during their time in Singapore that he caught up with Jorge Masvidal and the two worked out a fight. 'Wonderboy' told Joe Rogan,
"It's funny, we were in Singapore and me and him (Masvidal) were both there as guest fighters. That's where we made that fight happen. We had planned it out there, he just wanted to work his way up and I just lost to Tyron (at UFC 209) so I said, 'Let's make it happen, man..'"
Stephen Thompson and Jorge Masvidal eventually faced each other at UFC 217 that took place in November 2017. Thompson won the bout via unanimous decision after landing a higher volume of strikes on 'Gamebred' and even knocking him down once.
#3 - Stephen Thompson once almost threw up inside the octagon
Stephen Thompson had his first MMA fight in his hometown of Greenville, South Carolina. In 2010, fighting for the promotion called Fight Party, Thompson was pitted against a wrestler. Being a BJJ blue-belt against a wrestler and coming into the bout after a grueling weight-cut, Stephen Thompson "almost threw up" after the fight. He revealed the story at the Joe Rogan Experience, saying,
"It was my very first MMA fight, in my hometown.. This was 2010 and I had no wrestling. I mean blue-belt..barely blue-belt probably in jiu-jitsu and I'm fighting a wrestler and I'm knocking out in the second round.. and I almost threw up all on the ring.. twice. Because I had no idea how to cut weight and I hadn't been 170 (lbs) since 11th grade in high school."
Stephen Thompson faced Jeremy Joles in his first MMA fight in 2010, for Fight Party: Greenville Kage Fighting. 'Wonderboy' knocked out Joles in the second round, winning the bout via TKO.
#2 - Stephen Thompson attended kickboxing weigh-ins with keys and weights in his pocket
Stephen Thompson started competing in kickboxing at the age of 15. He revealed that despite being in a lighter weight class, he was fighting against heavier opponents in his amateur kickboxing competitions.
When Joe Rogan asked him how much Stephen Thompson weighed when he was competing in kickboxing, 'Wonderboy' said,
"I would actually fight up in weight. I would weigh-in with keys in my pocket, weights in my pocket. I fought at 185, fought at 195. I fought for the World Combat League. I wouldn't have fought up in that but nobody is grabbing a hold of you so I didn't have to worry about the weight. I was faster than the guys that were heavier than me, so.. That was a crazy experience."
Stephen Thompson competed at the World Combat League, a team-based kickboxing promotion which was founded by movie star and renowned martial artist Chuck Norris. In 2006, he was the #1 ranked fighter in the promotion.
#1 - Stephen Thompson was a nice guy since high-school
Stephen Thompson once got into a scuffle during high school. Walking back after school during his time in the 7th or 8th grade, Stephen Thompson saw his sister get into a fight with a guy. Knowing his sister to be a savage, Thompson knew he had to intervene to avoid his sister, Lindsay Thompson, getting expelled from the school.
Beating up a guy just to save Lindsay from far worse consequences from their father, 'Wonderboy' did the ultimate 'nice guy' act. Describing the incident to Joe Rogan, he said,
"She (Lindsay Thompson) was into some heated argument with this guy and this guy comes up to do something. I pushed my sister out of the way and I hit this dude.. I sidekicked this dude.. hit him right in the chest.. And I know Lindsay, if she gets in trouble, she's getting expelled. And my dad's a rough dude. You don't wanna get expelled living under his household, you know? So I hit him with a three-piece combination, his lips were bleeding, he's on the ground.. And his mom rolls up and I'm helping this dude up and I pat him on the back and I was like, 'Good job, man'.. And he said, 'Thanks' and like walked off.. And I'm like 'Why did I help him up?'"
Stephen Thompson is famous for his manners, even in an MMA promotion filled with killers like the UFC. 'Wonderboy' has often called out his fellow fighters but never without the niceties. Challenging Jorge Masvidal for a bout, Thompson said he wants the 'Nicest Motherfu***r' going up against the 'Baddest Motherfu***r'.