‘Wonderboy’ talks about how hard it would be for him to fight the former UFC welterweight champion.
Not so long ago, MMA fan favorite and pound-for-pound great Georges St-Pierre was touting Stephen Thompson as the future of the sport.
Flash forward to 2017, and Wonderboy will have a chance to become the new UFC welterweight champion, just as St-Pierre predicted.
Thompson and GSP formed a bond when the two would spar together at Tristar Gym in Montreal, Canada. St-Pierre, the greatest welterweight champion in the sport’s history, brought Thompson in to help prepare for unorthodox strikers like Carlos Condit. The 35-year-old defended his 170-pound title nine times, and Thompson found himself in awe of St-Pierre’s success.
With UFC 209 just one week away, where Thompson will look to dethrone current WW champ Tyron Woodley in a championship rematch, the Karate-based fighter admits that he would ‘hate’ to potentially defend his title against St-Pierre.
“I would hate [fighting him]. I would hate the day where I would have to step out there with a guy who inspired me first in kickboxing to [try] mixed martial arts. He was my inspiration,” Thompson told Damon Martin on the Fight Society podcast on Thursday. “He’s a good friend of mine. That would be a hard one to be honest with you just emotionally because he’s a good bud. But you never know.”
While Thompson would prefer not to fight his former sparring partner, the 34-year-old would be willing to put his personal relationship aside if GSP were to challenge for the title.
Thompson fought and beat ex-training partner Rory MacDonald at UFC Fight Night 89, so the South Carolinan knows a thing or two about putting his friendships on hold for business.
“You never know what the UFC’s going to bring. Of course, I know we’re both businessmen and professionals. It’s kind of like with Rory [MacDonald], I’ve got a little better relationship with Georges than I did with Rory. I don’t know. We’ll just have to see. I would not want to just because of the relationship we have but it is business.”
St-Pierre’s return to the UFC was announced earlier this month, and oddsmakers have listed middleweight champion Michael Bisping as his most likely opponent.
Thompson, who has the utmost respect for St-Pierre’s dedication to the sport, is excited to see his return fight.
“I am kind of excited that he’s back. I know he’s always been training, always evolving, everybody thinks that Georges St-Pierre in the past three or four years is maybe not training at all but this guy he’s a martial artist, a lifelong martial artist. He’s always training and evolving,” Thompson said.
“He is the best welterweight of all time and glad he’s back out there. I’m glad he can make things work with the UFC. Question is if he still has it. You can train all you want but it is a little different when you’re stepping out there. But he’s a very intelligent guy, got good people around him, so we’ll see.”
Woodley vs. Thompson II, which will feature as the headlining bout for UFC 209, takes place next Saturday, March 4, at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.