Posted by Justin Golightly @secretmovesmma
Design wizard. MMA mathematician. Lifelong martial artiste. Justin Golightly is a lover of the fighting sports and writes for Middle Easy.
Justin Golightly

Back in 2012 at #UFC143, Stephen "Wonderboy" Thompson had the most perfect UFC debut anyone could ever ask for. He knocked out Dan Stittgen with a head kick in the very first round.

After losing his second fight in the UFC in a too-much-too-soon fight with absolute killer #MattBrown, #StephenThompson proceeded to come back with a vengeance. He went on a five-fight win streak. His last victory would be a wild, spinning hook kick knockout over Jake Ellenberger. That win would find Thompson in the biggest fight of his life with a former UFC welterweight champion.

At UFC Fight Night 82, Thompson would step into the cage with #JohnyHendricks. Freshly removed from two, five-round wars with #RobbieLawler where he lost his UFC title, Hendricks was just starting a comeback of his own after a decision win over Brown. The match-up between Thompson and Hendricks would be the classic trope: a young lion trying to claw his way to the top, and the previous king trying to re-establish his throne.

Despite the nerves and immense pressure, Thompson defied all odds that night in Las Vegas. Hendricks soon found out that he was not able to get Thompson down, and standing up to strike with Thompson left Hendricks confused. He'd kick Hendricks and then Johny would watch the other kick coming, but not be able to do anything. The angles, complex arsenal and Thompson's speedy precision overwhelmed Hendricks early.

Living up to his nickname, "#Wonderboy" Thompson would take out Hendricks with machine-gun blast punches in just one round. This performance left no doubt in anyone's mind that Thompson deserved to be at the very top of the welterweight division.

Thompson would have to win a fight against #RoryMacDonald and endure some #GeorgesStPierre rumors before finally getting his title shot against #TyronWoodley, but the time comes for the South Carolina native on November 12th.

Catch the full episode of Thompson's "Retrospective" November 2nd on Fight Network at 7PM ET and see who ends up the UFC welterweight champion at #UFC205.