Following the first knockout defeat of his career, Stephen Thompson is more aware than ever that sometimes, you just get “caught”.
Talking to MMA Fighting’s Eurobash podcast, Thompson sympathized with Darren Till’s recent fate, drawing a comparison and even pondering a potential rematch. “You get the average fan watching these fights and they don’t understand that these are the best fighters in the world right now. I actually predicted that Darren Till was winning that fight. I expected him to do what he was doing in the first round for all five rounds. Again, this is the sport we compete in and anything can happen. He got caught just like I got caught.
"I was beating Anthony Pettis. I know nine times out of 10 I would have defeated him. It’s just that one time you barely get clipped and down you go. I had Darren Till winning that fight, but in the end Masvidal ended up putting it on him. Then again, Masvidal is a veteran of the game, so you’ve got to be ready at all times, just like Anthony Pettis was. You gotta be ready in this game. Like when Michael Bisping knocked out Luke Rockhold. I thought…everybody thought that Luke Rockhold would go out there and just smoke him and then Luke Rockhold got clipped.”
With that being said, neither Thompson or Till were finished in their UFC Fight Night Liverpool main event last year. Instead, they fought to a contentious judges’ verdict, with Till controversially winning via unanimous decision. “When I look back on it I do think I won it, but it’s nothing that really sits on me,” Thompson reflected. "Whatever happened happened and all I can do is just keep moving forward. I really do think I went out there and put on a show, enough to get that win, but it just goes to show that you can’t leave it in the judges’ hands sometimes. It’s behind me and I’m ready to move forward, just like I am with this fight against Anthony [Pettis].
“Hats off to my man Darren Till. I hope he’s taking the last loss well. I know he got in trouble not so long ago, and hopefully he’s learned from it."
As for a rematch, Thompson views Till as one of a handful of ideal fights, especially at the moment. "I’d love to step back out there with my man Darren Till. I think we put on a show last time, so of course, I would love to [fight him again]. To be honest, any one of those guys that I’ve stepped in the Octagon with — Darren Till, Anthony Pettis, Tyron Woodley — I would love to step back in the Octagon with those guys.” As for Till specifically, Thompson cites their recent form as a potential reason to run it back, "we’re both coming off knockout losses. You never know, things could line up that way.”