Per Haljestam for USA TODAY Sports

Former welterweight title challenger Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson lost a fight where had little to gain when he met hometown favorite Darren Till in the main event of today’s (Sun., May 27, 2018) UFC Liverpool (highlights here)  from the Echo Arena in Liverpool, England.

The anticipated headliner was a closely-measured, tentative affair from both rising star Till and respected karate master Thompson, who had drawn some criticism for being too focused on counterstriking in the past. Although he out-landed Till in total strikes and scored the only takedown of the fight, it was the Liverpudlian who pressed the pace and landed by far the most impactful shot of the fight when he dropped “Wonderboy” with a huge left hand over the top in the fifth round.

While the close fight could have gone to either man, a larger controversy swirled online when the hometown fighter was somehow granted 49-46 scores on two of the judges’ cards. After the loss – his second in his last four UFC match-ups, Thompson reacted to the loss in an interview with Megan Olivi on the FOX Sports 1 post-fight show. Thompson cited Till’s size for the division as the reason he couldn’t get much offense working:

“Um, yeah, I thought I edged it out, but you know, it is what it is. He’s a big boy. He’s definitely a big boy, you can feel his weight out there a little bit. But you know what? It is what it is.”

Even though it was a closely-fought bout with many lulls in action, Thompson’s legs were bruised from Till’s nonstop attack of chopping low kicks. With his right leg looking badly chewed up, he admitted it was actually his left leg that prevented him from fighting like he wanted to, but he wasn’t going to make excuses:

“My left leg a little bit, kept me from moving around like I wanted to, but no excuses.”

According to the former top-ranked contender, Till felt like a wall whenever he blitzed forward looking to land strikes, a dynamic that stalled his assaults:

“No, usually when guys, whenever I blitz forward they back up, I can use my weight a little bit. But it was like running into a brick wall. You know, every time I would come in, he was right there in front of me. But no excuses, go back to the drawing board and come back better next time.”

Finally, Thompson was asked if the fact that Till had missed weight by 3.5 pounds yesterday played into his size and strength, but ‘Wonderboy’ didn’t take the bait. Instead, he congratulated his younger foe, said he was going to get his leg checked, and then finally go back to the drawing board and rebound from the defeat:

“You know what, it is what it is, you know, gonna go back and definitely learn from this, but you know, hat’s off to Darren.

“I wanna get my left leg checked out, see how is it’s doing, and then yeah, go back to the drawing board and see where we go from there.”