(Props to the ISCF.)
Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson is a 54-and-0 world champion kickboxer and veteran of the International Kickboxing Federation, the World Combat League, and the World Association of Kickboxing Organizations. Now “Wonderboy” is trying his hand at MMA, winning his Feb. 5 debut at Greenville Kage Fighting over Jeremy Joles.
Thompson’s kickboxing style is Karate-based, a style he describes as similar to Lyoto Machida’s but with more movement. And he’s used it successfully, knocking many opponents unconscious with a quick head kick, an achievement that Thompson enjoys.
“[Kicking someone in the head is] awesome. It’s one of the most satisfying things you’ll ever do. It feels great,” Thompson said, speaking in the context of sport.
Having competed internationally, Thompson has already fought some of the best kickboxers in the world. With his MMA career just beginning and a wealth of potential opponents ahead of him, who would he fight if he could fight—and presumably kick in the head—absolutely anyone, living or dead?
“I would fight Chuck Norris,” Thompson said without hesitation. “He’s the number-five most popular name in the world. Everybody knows who Chuck Norris is. He’s in his sixties now, but in his prime, he’d be somebody I’d want to fight.”
Thompson wants to fight Norris because he respects his accomplishments as a martial artist not because he dislikes Norris in anyway. Norris, after all, is something of a family friend. Not only has Thompson competed in the World Combat League, Norris’ organization, Thompson’s brother-in-law, Carlos Machado, gave Norris his black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Machado spent the holidays with Thompson and his family, giving Thompson access to a much sought-after source of Jiu-Jitsu knowledge.
Many people, given the opportunity, would fight a childhood bully. Not Thompson. He conquered his bully in ninth grade.
“Jabo was the baddest guy on the block in Hillcrest,” Thompson said. “He was a big senior, one of the biggest guys. Nobody really messed with him. He was notorious for just beating the crap out of people.”
One day, while changing after gym class, Jabo and Thompson slap-boxed. Thompson, thinking that he and Jabo were on good terms, jokingly shot a takedown. That embarrassed Jabo. Jabo slapped hands with Thompson and turned as if to leave. Then Jabo spun around and threw a haymaker.
“I saw it a mile away. I ducked underneath it, went around, went to his back,” Thompson said. “I actually kicked his legs out from underneath him and put him on his knees and got him in a rear naked choke.”
Most promising mixed martial artists talk of fighting the top names in the sport, most of which are UFC champions, but Thompson already trains regularly with many of them.
“I’ve been training with a bunch of guys who are world champions, such as Georges St-Pierre, Rashad Evans, Keith Jardine, and Nate Marquardt,” Thompson said. Sounds like “Wonderboy” has super friends.