thompson changes the game header“Wonderboy” once again proves he’s the future of the Welterweight division.

Many have had their doubts about Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson after he succumbed to Matt Brown. People saw him as an exciting karate fighter who would find himself defeated time and again by the upper echelon of the Welterweight division. All you’d need to do is take him down, land some ground and pound and victory will be in clear reach. After the destruction of former champion Johny Hendricks and now outclassing Rory MacDonald at UFC Fight Night 89, it’s become pretty apparent to the whole world that Thompson is going away. What Thompson has managed to do is utilize his hybrid style of karate and kickboxing, together with a new found wrestling and grappling game, to confound opponents on the feet and land consistent and sharp strikes. Rory MacDonald really didn’t have much of an answer for the striking of Thompson besides a few surprising Imanari Rolls. Thompson’s style of karate stems from kempo as well as sports karate which is a freestyle form of competitive point fighting. Thompson is able to move his opponents where he wants, move in at an angle, land accurate and hard strikes, and keep his adversaries on the outside. Thompson also uses his length like no one else at Welterweight. He was at a reach disadvantage in his match against MacDonald, yet he was still able to utilize his length far better than the “The Red King.” People have a tendency to focus solely on the kicking game of Thompson, but what he’s able to do with his punching is a beauty to watch. Thompson was able to rattle off several hand combinations besides the typical karate blitz. Thompson throws hooks, uppercuts, and shovel hooks with blistering speed and can utilize them as counters and as leads as well. Many people look at the karate style and believe that most fighters will burn themselves out with the amount of movements they utilize. The blitz is inherently a movement that requires the user to be explosive. Where Thompson differs is that he throws many of his combinations very relaxed and fluid, putting little muscle into any of his strikes. That relaxation while throwing strikes is perhaps the most impressive aspect of Thompson’s game and will likely continue to confound opponents for fights to come. Karate has been back for quite some time now, but Thompson has proved once more just how amazing and useful the style can be if you add some interesting tweaks. Only time will tell if Thompson will once again meet his match, but as of now, it’s hard to imagine who can contend with the Welterweight karateka. What did you think of Stephen Thompson’s performance? Follow Generation Iron MMA on Facebook and Twitter. Also, be sure to share, like, and comment to show your support.

Jonathan Salmon is a writer, martial arts instructor, and geek culture enthusiast. Check out his Twitter and Facebook to keep up with his antics.

Jonathan Salmon
Managing editor of Generation Iron, Jonathan Salmon is a writer, martial arts instructor, and geek culture enthusiast. He has been writing about bodybuilding, combat sports, and strength sports for over 8 years. Check out his YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Sound Cloud for in-depth MMA analysis.