Stephen Thompson On Darren Till Fight: ‘I’m The Number One Contender And I’m Here To Stay’

Stephen Thompson explains why he's willing to go into enemy territory to fight Darren Till.

The main event of UFC Liverpool was announced yesterday with local man Darren Till facing the #1 ranked welterweight Stephen Thompson.

With Till ranked only #7 in the division and Thompson previously saying he wasn’t willing to take the fight, many were surprised when the news broke last week that the fight was in the works.

Following the official announcement yesterday, Thompson spoke with The MMA Mad Podcast and explained why he orginally distanced himself from the fight.

“They started coming at me with this fight straight after the Masvidal fight and I wasn’t sure whether my thumbs were broken or not at the time,: Thompson said. “I didn’t know if I was going to have surgery, so I didn’t think I would be ready in time to fight Darren Till.

“To be honest, I didn’t even know who the guy was until after he beat Cerrone, I’d never even heard of the guy. Cerrone was coming off three losses before that fight and he’d got knocked out by Masvidal who I’d just beat, so, I didn’t think it was going to happen because of my thumbs and I didn’t know who this guy was.”

Thankfully, after a little negotiating with the UFC, Thompson decided to step up and take the challenge. He then went on to outline why he was taking the fight and what motivated him to sign the contract.

“The UFC get coming back and forth and it was like ‘no,’ but they were like ‘come on.’ I looked on social media and there was like nobody going to take this fight,” Thompson said.” My thumbs started to feel good like a month ago, so I was like, you know what? I’m ranked #1 and there are a lot of theses up and coming guys that a lot of people are talking about and I wanted to test myself against these young bucks that are coming up and who everyone is talking about.

“I just want to go out there and prove to everybody that no matter who comes up, I’m the #1 contender. I’m here to stay and that’s what I’m going to prove when I step out there in Liverpool. Yes it doesn’t make sense for me to go fight the #7 guy in his hometown, but you know what? I’m a fighter and I’ll go out there and fight whoever.

“My thumbs are feeling good and it’s not the first time that I’ve been in enemy territory, of course fighting Rory MacDonald in Canada was ridiculous. I know the fans out there are awesome in Liverpool. I’ve never been so that’s another thing that excites me.”

Listen to the full interview

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