Stephen Thompson spent some time with Conor McGregor recently and “Wonderboy” believes the McGregor of old — with some added power — will emerge when the former two-division champ is set to return.
McGregor is currently filming the upcoming season of The Ultimate Fighter and is opposed by Michael Chandler as coaches. The two will eventually compete inside the octagon later this year in McGregor’s first fight in over two years since suffering a nasty leg injury in a TKO loss to Dustin Poirier in July 2021 at UFC 264. But after seeing McGregor in person, and getting the chance to work with him, Thompson was impressed.
“For someone to come off of an injury like that, his mindset is like it didn’t even happen,” Thompson told Submission Radio. “He’s getting back to his roots. He’s never trained in karate, but he’s trained with a lot of karate guys and that’s where he gets a lot of his movement from.
“I don’t know if you’ve seen the size of his fist, he’s got like a melon of a fist, like what the heck, man, and no wonder he puts people out with that one-hitter quitter punch. But he’s back to his movement. I think he listened to the fans. His last two fights with Poirier, he was kind of in that boxer mentality, he’s got to get back to his roots of movement, and that’s what we’re going to see from Conor the next time he steps out there.”
Thompson has been around McGregor many times in the past, but one aspect of what makes McGregor who he is as a star and personality is the ability to be able to flip that switch when needed.
That was prevalent when Thompson was around McGregor in Las Vegas. Additionally, the extra size and muscle McGregor put on was tough to ignore, but Thompson says he still has a few pounds on “The Notorious.”
“It was cool,” Thompson said. “You see Conor fight and you see everything he says on social media, but to be able to hang out with him the entire time, it was cool, man.
“We’ve crossed paths many times in the past, we’ve fought on the same cards, he’s part of my management — and probably owns some of my management, I think — so we would cross paths all the time. But to be able to hang out with him that entire week, it was cool. It’s funny how he can turn it on. He knows when a camera is on him. For some reason, it’s like a super power… he turns into that Conor persona. He’s a showman for sure.
“He looks bigger than I am [in the picture that appeared on social media], but I’m actually bigger than him,” Thompson continues. “He’s around 185, maybe 180, I’m around 195 — the heaviest I’ve been in a while, actually — but he knows how to inch forward and make himself look bigger. It’s pretty cool to watch.”