“I was expecting to get the title shot after defeating Johny Hendricks in the first round, so I was kind of disappointed having to fight Rory MacDonald, just because we do have a good relationship. We go back years. Me going up there, training with Tristar with Georges St-Pierre, whenever he was fighting. It was kind of disappointing, but sometimes at the top of the game you’ve got to fight a friend. We understand it’s business. We’re ready to go out there and throw down, put on a show for the fans in the UFC… I think [this is a lateral move]. I thought I had [the title shot] in the bag, finishing the former Welterweight Champion, the guy who went five rounds with Georges St-Pierre, which was controversial, 10 rounds with the champ now, Robbie Lawler. The Robbie Lawler win was controversial as well. Some people say that Johny Hendricks won that fight. I look it as me actually defeating the welterweight champion, but in the first round. Nobody has ever done that to him. I was expecting to get that, but sometimes you’ve got to prove to the fans in the UFC that you maybe got one more shot before you fight for the title. It is what it is.”
-UFC Fight Night 89 headliner Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson talks to ESPN.com and discusses his mild frustration at needing to fight friend Rory MacDonald to secure a shot at the UFC Welterweight Championship.
Penick’s Analysis: Given they wound up running with Tyron Woodley when he hadn’t fought in a year and a half, it’s a little more baffling that they made the moves the made. Of course, when this Thompson-MacDonald fight was booked, they were trying to explore other options for Robbie Lawler’s next fight, and felt this was a good fight for their debut in Ottawa. They were right on that end, and it’s a great five round welterweight fight for Saturday’s card, but Thompson absolutely would have been a more interesting option for Lawler after beating Hendricks than Woodley will be at UFC 201.
[Photo (c) Joshua Dahl via USA Today Sports]
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