Former welterweight title contender Stephen Thompson has made it clear he has no intention of retiring after suffering his second loss in a row earlier this month against Belal Muhammad.
At 38, Thompson is perhaps growing a little long in the tooth for his ‘Wonderboy’ moniker, but nonetheless he insists that he actually feels great and doesn’t believe that his age is holding him back at this stage in his career.
“I can’t believe people are saying that I’m old and I should retire,” Thompson said on his YouTube channel. “I feel like people that do retire, when they sit down on the chair, they just feel like they should retire. Like just, their body’s beat up, aches and pains.… When I sit here and I’m sitting down in this chair, I feel great. I feel fine. I feel better than I was five years ago. I just don’t get it.”
It’s not hard to back Thompson up on that – he still shows up in very good shape for all his fights, is still agile and has good speed, while the KO loss he suffered against Anthony Pettis back in 2019 remains the only loss via strikes on his record.
And his loss against Muhammad recently wasn’t so much down to the effects of his age catching up with him, but rather just the fact that his opponent was able to exploit his grappling weaknesses on the night.
That being said, Thompson has suggested that physically he didn’t feel ‘right’ on the night as he prepared to get into the Octagon.
“I lost my fight – got manhandled for three rounds. Yeah, man – it was a sucky experience, to be honest with you.
“I don’t know why this happens, but I had a great camp. Camp was awesome. I was in the greatest shape of my life. I was in shape, I felt strong, and then things start to kind of get a little weird whenever you’re getting ready to go out. You’re in the back kind of warming up and your legs start to feel tingly. That’s not a good sign.
“My weight cut was great, actually. I got down in weight super fast, way easier than my last one, and weight cut was good. I think maybe it had something to do with my rehydration – not sure. But I felt exhausted, felt super tired right out of the first round. I was tired. I didn’t want to say anything to my coaches or anything that my legs were feeling tingly…
“Everybody’s expecting me to go out there and just put a whooping on this guy and then he ends up throwing me around for three rounds. I don’t know. I don’t know why. Hopefully something better will come out from it.”
There’s no shame in losing to a fighter who is now ranked No.5 in the division though, as was the case in his other defeat this year against the No.2 ranked Gilbert Burns, and Thompson will be able to console himself with the fact that prior to that he defeated the current No.4 ranked Vicente Luque and No.12 placed Geoff Neal.