Why Is Stephen Thompson Called Wonderboy?

Published 06/26/2021, 3:46 AM EDT
FRANKLIN, TENNESSEE – MARCH 22: Stephen Thompson poses on the scale during the UFC Fight Night weigh-in at Hilton Franklin Cool Springs on March 22, 2019 in Franklin, Tennessee. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)


Stephen Thompson, universally regarded as the nicest guy in MMA, is returning to the Octagon on July 10th to fight Gilbert Burns in the co-main event of UFC 264. “Wonderboy” is trying to build on his two-fight winning streak as he is looking to earn yet another shot at the welterweight title.

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Burns recently fought and lost to Usman, and hence, a win here could do wonders for the man known as “Wonderboy.” However, how did Thompson get his nickname? The origin of the name can be traced back to the earliest days of Thompson’s kickboxing career.

He had been training in Karate ever since he was a kid and, at 15, had his first professional fight against a man who was much older than him. Thompson talked about the origin of his famed nickname in that fight in an interview with talkSPORT.

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“People ask me when I’m going to change it to ‘Wonderman’ because I’m 34 now. When I was 15, I fought a guy who was 26, and he was 20-0, undefeated. It was a way for my dad to show me that I was better than I thought,” he said.

“I ended up beating the brakes off this 26-year-old guy. After the fight, the announcer asked my opponent how it felt. He answered, ‘I wonder why I stepped in the ring with that boy.” Thompson revealed that the announcer connected the two and coined his nickname.

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It was the beginning of a glistening two-decade-long career that is still ongoing. Even at 38, Thompson has shown no signs of slowing down.

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Stephen Thompson vs. Gilbert Burns

This match will be essential for both Burns and Thompson as a loss would almost certainly mean the end to a shot at the title. While Burns is only 34, and he might string together another title run, this is certainly the last chance for “Wonderboy.”

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE – MARCH 23: Stephen Thompson walks to the Octagon prior to his welterweight bout against Anthony Pettis during the UFC Fight Night event at Bridgestone Arena on March 23, 2019, in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Thompson has fought for the title before, and he would certainly do so again if he beats Burns. Usman is currently slated to fight Colby Covington for the title, and there’s another star, Leon Edwards, who might throw a spanner in Wonderboy’s plans. However, he wouldn’t mind after all he has gone through.

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Aniket Awasthi

327 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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