Stephen Thompson believes Darren Till might have gotten a hometown nod Sunday night.
Till beat Thompson by unanimous decision (48-47, 49-46, 49-46) on the judges’ scorecards in the main event of UFC Liverpool. Till happens to be from Liverpool and he was headlining the first UFC card in his backyard.
The bout was awfully close in almost every round, but many felt Thompson did enough to win. All but three media members listed on MMADecisions.com scored the bout for Thompson.
When asked by Ariel Helwani on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour, Thompson said he believes if the fight was elsewhere — like Las Vegas — he would have ended up ahead on the scorecards. “Wonderboy” said he believes judges “could do better.”
“I know close fights are very hard in the moment,” Thompson said. “But there seems to be a lot of that happening recently. But I think [I would have won if the fight was not in Liverpool]. I really do. I think so. Darren is definitely a tough guy, man. He’s a very confident person. Definitely built for the fight game. And yeah, I think I would win that fight.”
One possibility, Thompson said, is that the wild, pro-Till crowd could have swayed the judges toward Till during certain exchanges.
“You’ve gotta be professional out there,” Thompson said. “I’d like to think of the judges as being professional and not thinking that and them focusing on the fight and not what the fans are doing. I literally didn’t hear a damn thing out there. I didn’t hear the crowd. People were saying that every time a punch would whiff by you — not even make contact — the crowd was going crazy. I don’t know. That could be a possibility, yeah.”
Despite the controversial decision, “Wonderboy” had very little reaction when the scores were read. He said he was already mentally preparing himself for a Till victory in the moment leading up to the cards being read. There was no tantrum or even a scowl.
“Once they make that announcement, I’m not gonna go out there and pitch a fit,” Thompson said. “I’m gonna take it like a man and be a gentleman. I’m gonna shake my partner’s hand and that’s how it should be done. I can’t go back and change it.”
Thompson, 35, said he spoke with UFC president Dana White afterward and expressed his desire for a rematch against Till. If not, he’d like to face either Colby Covington or Rafael dos Anjos, depending on the result of that UFC 225 interim title bout.
Either way, “Wonderboy” said he’s not going to do anything differently while he attempts to get back to another title shot.
“I do respect everybody who I step in the Octagon with,” Thompson said. “I know there’s a strategy to a lot of these guys making comments about people, making them mad. It’s part of the strategy to get in their head. It’s mental warfare, basically. And I understand that.”
But that doesn’t mean he has to partake in it.