Thursday, May 24, 2018

Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson fights Darren Till in the main event of UFC Fight Night 130, on May 27, 2018, at the Echo Arena in Liverpool, England. Every the gentleman, truly, Wonderboy didn’t say Till wasn’t on his level. But he did explain that there are levels in the UFC.

“That’s what I’m out there to prove to the fans and everybody around the world – There are levels to this,” said Thompson to Damon Martin for MMAWeekly. “I’m going to go out there and I’m going to do work. You’re going to see the level of that No. 1 and No. 8. UFC’s giving him a chance so I know he’s going to be coming prepared. Anybody in the UFC has a chance to knock you out. So I’m not going to take this guy lightly. I’m going to prove to everybody this is why I’m No. 1 and there are levels to this game.”

Till possesses an outsized character in a sport that is desperate for them at the moment. He turned pro as a Muay Thai fighter at 15, and in 2012 moved from his hometown of Liverpool to Brazil, as it was safer (Till had recently suffered a near-fatal stabbing). The Englishman is undefeated as an amateur fighter, and undefeated as a pro.

In his last fight, he knocked out Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone, establishing him as a potential next big thing. If he gets by ‘Wonderboy’ he is at the very least the next big contender. And although he was barely on Thompson’s radar before the fight was offered (Wonderboy wanted RDA), Stephen offered praise and respect.

“Very strong welterweight. Good striking, heavy left hand, mostly throws his left leg but it’s a heavy kick. He’s got great timing, too,” said Thompson. “After watching him fight, it’s going to be fun.”

“I know that pretty much everybody I face is going to wind up wanting to take me down eventually. I know in some of Till’s earlier fights, he has tried to take people down. I know he prefers to stand up, which is something I want to do. He wants to prove he’s the better striker than me and that puts a smile on my face. I hope that’s his plan.”