Darren Till was able to solve the puzzle that is Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson at UFC Liverpool to earn a decision victory that was much narrower than the judges’ scorecards would indicate. After the bout, however, the majority of experts and fans have argued that Thompson was the rightful winner of the bout and that the main reason Till was deemed the winner is because the fight took place in Till’s backyard of Liverpool. Appearing on the MMA Hour Monday, Stephen Thompson voiced his agreement with this belief when asked if he thought the decision would have been different had the bout taken place somewhere else:
“I know close fights are very hard in the moment. But there seems to be a lot of that happening recently. But I think [I would have won if the fight was not in Liverpool]. I really do. I think so. Darren is definitely a tough guy, man. He’s a very confident person. Definitely built for the fight game. And yeah, I think I would win that fight.”
Darren Till has heard these same comments from the MMA community and instead of complaining or debating, has argued for the practical solution of having a rematch, only this time in the United States:
“I know Stephen said he needs to check his knee and that, but you’ve got all these experts out here saying this, saying that because it was in Liverpool,” Till said on the MMA Hour Monday. “If anyone wants me to America and fight Stephen again, Stephen definitely wants it and he’s not injured, I can do that as soon as possible. That rematch.
“Obviously, there are other guys that I want to fight as well. but let’s show all these critics. It’s probably going to be the same fight, definitely going to be the same outcome again. Maybe I can be more aggressive and knock him out this time. You’ll see. That’s what I’m thinking.”
Although these are gracious and humble words from Till, this may not be an empty gesture and could very well lead to a rematch. Instant rematches are hard to come by in the UFC, but this may be a very rare occasion where the promotion jumps on the idea. The first fight was razor close, even White said so himself, and in addition to the decision controversy, there was also the weight controversy where Till missed weight leading into the bout. Finally, with an interim title fight already on the books, Woodley would presumably be locked in to facing the winner of the Rafael dos Anjos and Colby Covington fight on June 9th. That would only leave Kamaru Usman as the most sensible opponent for Till from a rankings standpoint, but the promotion may have reservations about putting Till against a dominant wrestler like Usman, or at least Usman seems to think so. Booking an instant rematch against Thompson would once again put Till against a striker and buy Till some time until the welterweight champion is free again. And even if Till loses the rematch, that would still have the score at 1-1 against Thompson and would not hurt Till or his star power much. Therefore, for both business and ethical reasons, a very strong case can be made for the promotion giving Thompson the rematch with Till.
What do you think? Will we be seeing Thompson/Till 2?