UFC welterweight Stephen Thompson has revealed what he thinks went wrong in his loss to Gilbert Burns at UFC 264.
In a battle of 170-pound contenders, “Wonderboy” and Burns met inside the Octagon in the co-main event of the most recent pay-per-view. In a first for Thompson, he was taken down and controlled for large portions of the fight.
Having entered the bout on a winning streak that included victories over Vicente Luque and Geoff Neal, Thompson was looking to secure another championship opportunity late in his career. Unfortunately for the talented striker, Burns’ own title aspirations put a stop to his charge to gold.
Despite a fairly comfortable defeat on the judges’ scorecards, Thompson certainly enjoyed success in the limited time the fight spent on the feet. The fan-favorite has admitted that he could have performed better if he’d focused on his own attack.
In the first podcast uploaded to his YouTube channel since the PPV, “Wonderboy” gave an honest analysis of the defeat and what went wrong. The 38-year-old highlighted his focus on the takedowns pre-fight as something that hindered him during the bout.
“In camp you’re so working on defending the takedown – not getting taken to the ground, not letting this guy get you down, when I should’ve just went out there and did my thing. I believe, and I’m being honest, I felt I was more worried about how he was gonna take me down, because I wasn’t really sure. I’ve seen him do different takedowns before, and I was expecting this guy at some point to fake the takedown and come up with an uppercut or overhand right.” (h/t Sportskeeda)
Despite UFC president Dana White and the fans inside the T-Mobile Arena being less than impressed with Burns’ strategy, Thompson gave the Brazilian credit for having the strength to execute his game plan.
“I didn’t realise how strong this guy was gonna be. Everybody in the UFC is strong, but when it comes to holding you down?”
While “Wonderboy” digests his defeat and prepares for a rebound fight, Burns will be looking to return to the Octagon soon and secure a second crack at the UFC welterweight belt. Having clapped back at critics of his performance at UFC 264, “Durinho” will no doubt look to put an exclamation mark on his next performance.
With Colby Covington set to have his second attempt at dethroning 170-pound king Kamaru Usman next, Burns will likely target either Leon Edwards or Jorge Masvidal for his next bout, should either be willing to face the Brazilian.
Who do you think Gilbert Burns and Stephen Thompson should face next?