Stephen Thompson on Tyron Woodley: ‘He Can Try to Play Mind Games, But it Doesn’t Work’

Stephen Thompson
Image Credit: Jose Youngs/ The MMA Corner

Stephen Thompson is preparing for another championship bout with title holder Tyron Woodley.

The two top Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) welterweights are set to share the Octagon once again on March 4 at UFC 209. The event will be held inside the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

“Wonderboy” recently spoke with MMANews.com’s very own Tim Thompson. The challenger said he had a feeling he’d have to agitate the champion a bit to get his rematch:

“To be honest, I felt that was gonna happen. I knew that I was probably gonna have to poke him a little bit and I did on social media, which actually I think got him to sign that contract. He said that he was actually gonna sign it to begin with. But, you know I signed the contract in early December and was waiting around and he’s over here talking about fighting other guys. Even going up a weight class to fight Michael Bisping.”

Woodley isn’t shy about asking for “big money fights.” He’s tried to do battle with Nick Diaz and Georges St. Pierre as well. “The Chosen One” threw Thompson for a loop when he called him entitled for wanting an immediate rematch.

Thompson clearly doesn’t agree.

“There’s not an entitled bone in my body. I didn’t ask for the contract, I didn’t beg for it. That’s how it went. Whenever you tie, you run it back and you do it again. And I did, I didn’t ask for the contract. They sent it to me and I signed it and sent it back. If anybody’s entitled, there’s a lot of things that he’s done to make him seem entitled. I mean, asking for money fights when he just got the title. When I called him out on FOX Sports 1 he’s like, ‘nah man I want a title fight, I want a title fight.’ and all these other things.”

Playing mind games is nothing new in the sport of mixed martial arts (MMA). Some master it, while others don’t pay it any mind. “Wonderboy” takes all the trash talk in stride.

“[Laughs] He can try. He can try to play those mind games, but it just doesn’t work. I’ve been fighting for a long time and had a lot of guys try to get in my head. I know what they’re trying to do and I just think it’s kind of funny for them trying to do that. Of course on FOX and ESPN, some of the things he was saying I think my facial expressions kind of said what I was thinking. It is what it is and it doesn’t bother me one bit.”

One of those things were Woodley’s comments on racism in the UFC. While the champion didn’t accuse his opponent of being a racist, he called himself the “worst-treated champion in UFC history” due to the color of his skin.

Thompson understands the topic is up for debate. He also doesn’t see the point Woodley was trying to make.

“It was a little different. I’ve never been in that kind of situation before where race was brought up. Just from my point of view, which it could be right it could be wrong, I don’t know I just haven’t seen that in the UFC. Of course I haven’t been there with Tyron’s negotiations with the UFC or anything like that. So, I don’t know what goes on between them. All I see are guys like Anderson Silva, who is one of the best fighters in the UFC, at one point one of the highest paid too. Jon Jones, the same way. They built themselves up like any other fighter in the UFC for those paydays.”

You can listen to the full exclusive interview with “Wonderboy” below:

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