Stephen Thompson and His Two Title Fights Against Tyron Woodley

Published 06/25/2021, 9:00 AM EDT
LAS VEGAS, NV – MARCH 04: Stephen Thompson waits for the decision after his title fight against welterweight champion Tyron Woodley during UFC 209 on March 4, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Woodley retained his title with a majority-decision win. (Photo by Steve Marcus/Getty Images)


UFC fans know Stephen Thompson for his great attitude, but it might hide the fact that he is one of the fiercest competitors in the UFC. As a man known for his impeccable striking and karate, Thompson will return to action at UFC 264 against Gilbert Burns in a probable number one contender’s match.

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“Wonderboy” has seen it all in his 21 professional MMA fights. However, his MMA career peaked when he fought Tyron Woodley at UFC 205 for the welterweight title. They shared an intense rivalry, and there was as much trash-talking involved as was humanely possible, with the nicest guy in MMA being on the other side of it.

Stephen Thompson vs. Tyron Woodley 1

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Thompson was on a seven-fight winning streak, which included three UFC Performance of the Night bonuses. However, it was his win against Rory MacDonald which finally got him the title shot against the immovable force that was Tyron Woodley in 2016.

Woodley had just knocked out Robbie Lawler in the first round to grab the UFC welterweight title, and Thompson was his first title defense. They fought on the UFC 205 card, which was headlined by Conor McGregor vs. Eddie Alvarez.

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However, Woodley and Thompson almost stole all the limelight as they battled to a majority draw. It was one of the most interesting fights that the UFC had ever booked with intense back-and-forth action. Woodley dropped “Wonderboy” twice in the fourth round and almost finished the fight only to get stuck in a guillotine by the end of the round.

The fight was so amazing that the UFC booked an immediate rematch.

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Thompson vs. Woodley 2: The decider

This fight had a lot riding on it as Woodley needed to prove that he was good enough to beat the man every UFC fan seemed to love. However, when the fight came around at UFC 209, the hype was unmatched. The fight did not disappoint, as it was another incredibly close encounter. It went the distance, and the judges gave it to Woodley with a scorecard of 48-47, 48-47, and 47-47.

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However, the crowd did not like the decision and booed the champion when Bruce Buffer announced the results. Wonderboy lost the fight, but his faithful fans still kept by his side as he worked his way back to the top. Now, he is two wins away from challenging the champion Kamaru Usman for the title, and if he beats Gilbert Burns, it will be one of the best comeback stories in quite some time.

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Aniket Awasthi

324 articles

Aniket Awasthi is a UFC author at EssentiallySports. This STEM undergraduate combines an insatiable urge to write with his admiration for MMA and the UFC in general to enhance his journalism. He calls charismatic names like Chael Sonnen and 'The Count' Michael Bisping as his favorite fighters, but he is a great admirer of the rise of Israel Adesanya ever since he fought Rob Wilkinson at UFC 221.

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