Growing up in a martial arts family where Thompson’s father, Ray Thompson, who was a professional kickboxer and owned Upstate karate school in South Carolina, Thompson started training at age of three, under his father’s guidance. He started competing in kickboxing and karate at the age of 15.
Martial arts career
Thompson is the Head Instructor of the children’s karate program at Upstate Karate in Simpsonville, South Carolina. He is the oldest son of Ray Thompson, who is his trainer and manager. Thompson graduated from high school in 2001. He has been studying martial arts since his pre-teens and holds black belt ranks in Tetsushin-ryū Kempo, American Kickboxingand Jujutsu. He studies Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under Carlos Machado who is also his brother-in-law.
In 2006, Thompson was the #1 ranked fighter in Chuck Norris’ World Combat League.
Thompson has also been featured in Martial Arts Digest magazine, Fighter magazine and MMA Authority magazine.
Thompson has performed along with his father at the Peace Center for the Performing Arts in the “Athletes Project”, and has appeared in several TV commercials.
Thompson fought Raymond Daniels in a highly anticipated bout. Thompson lost the bout by technical knockout due to a knee injury he suffered that left him unable to continue. However, this was later overturned into a no contest.
Ultimate Fighting Championship
Thompson was expected to face Justin Edwards on February 4, 2012, at UFC 143, replacing an injured Mike Stumpf.However, Edwards was forced out with an injury and replaced by Dan Stittgen. Thompson won the fight via KO in the first round after landing a flush head kick. For his performance, Thompson was awarded Knockout of the Night honors.
Thompson lost to Matt Brown on April 21, 2012, at UFC 145 via unanimous decision (30–27, 29–27, and 30–27).
Thompson was expected to face Besam Yousef on November 17, 2012, at UFC 154. However, Thompson was forced out of the bout with a knee injury and was replaced by Matthew Riddle.
Thompson was expected to face Amir Sadollah on May 25, 2013, at UFC 160. However, Sadollah pulled out of the bout citing an injury and was replaced by Nah-Shon Burrell. Thompson won the fight via unanimous decision (29–28, 30–27, and 29–28).
Thompson next faced Chris Clements on September 21, 2013, at UFC 165. He won the fight via knockout in the second round.
Thompson faced Robert Whittaker on February 22, 2014, at UFC 170. He won the bout via first-round technical knockout. The win also earned him his first Performance of the Night bonus award.
Thompson faced Patrick Côté on September 27, 2014, at UFC 178. Thompson won the fight via unanimous decision (29–28, 29–28, and 30–27).
Thompson was expected to headline against Brandon Thatch on February 14, 2015, at UFC Fight Night 60. However, Thompson pulled out of the fight on January 30, citing a rib injury and was replaced by former UFC Lightweight Champion Benson Henderson.
Thompson faced Jake Ellenberger on July 12, 2015, at The Ultimate Fighter 21 Finale. He won the fight via KO in the first round and earned a Performance of the Night bonus.
Thompson was expected to face Neil Magny on January 2, 2016, at UFC 195. However, Magny was tabbed as an injury replacement for Matt Brown and instead faced Kelvin Gastelum on November 21, 2015, at The Ultimate Fighter Latin America 2 Finale. In turn, Thompson was removed from the card and rebooked to face former champion Johny Hendricks on February 6, 2016, at UFC Fight Night 82. He won the bout via TKO in the first round. The win also earned Thompson his third Performance of the Night bonus award.
Thompson next faced Rory MacDonald on June 18, 2016, at UFC Fight Night 89. He won the fight via unanimous decision (50–45, 50–45, and 48–47).
Thompson fought for the UFC Welterweight Championship at UFC 205, where he faced reigning champion Tyron Woodley. The fight ended in a majority draw with two judges scoring the fight 47–47 and the third 48–47 in favor of Woodley. However, there was some confusion as the result was initially announced as a split decision victory for Woodley only to be corrected moments later when the decision of a majority draw was announced, albeit with the same result of Woodley remaining champion. Subsequently, both fighters were awarded Fight of the Night bonus awards. UFC President Dana White stated that he expected that a rematch would be next for each fighter.
The rematch with Woodley took place on March 4, 2017, in the main event at UFC 209. Thompson lost by majority decision (48–47, 47–47, and 48–47). In a sample of 19 media pundits scoring the fight, five scored it in favor of Woodley, six scored in favor of Thompson, and eight scored it a draw.
Thompson faced Jorge Masvidal on November 4, 2017 at UFC 217. He won the one-sided fight via unanimous decision (30–26, 30–27, and 30–27).
Thompson faced Darren Till on May 27, 2018 at UFC Fight Night 130. At the weigh-ins, Till weighed in at 174.5 pounds, 3.5 pounds over the welterweight non-title fight limit of 171. After negotiating with Thompson’s team, the bout proceeded at a catchweight with the stipulation that Till can’t weight more than 188 pounds on the day of the fight. Also, Till forfeited 30 percent of his purse to Thompson. Thompson lost via unanimous decision (48–47, 49–46, and 49–46). Conversely, 22 of 25 media outlets scored the bout in favor of Thompson.
On January 19, 2019, it was announced that Thompson would be facing former UFC Lightweight champion Anthony Pettis in the headliner of UFC on ESPN+ 6 on March 23, 2019.
Article source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephen_Thompson_(fighter)