Right out of the gate, it was clear that Hendricks was having difficulty tracking Thompson down, due to his footwork and of course, his nasty kicks. The powerful wrestler shot in on a takedown not long in, but “Wonderboy” defended it, and proceeded to put Hendricks away with a kick and punches.
So what went so terribly wrong for “Bigg Rigg”? At the post fight press conference, here’s some of what Hendricks had to say (quote via MMA Fighting.com):
“Stephen Thompson was just a better man tonight,” Hendricks said. “What can I say? He performed. I hesitated. I don’t hesitate usually…”
“In training camp, whenever I closed the difference on them, [training partners would] always fire back,” Hendricks said. “He didn’t fire back. He would continue to move. And then all of a sudden it was like, oh c’mon. I wanted him to fight, I wanted him to fight, I wanted him to fight. But I’m playing into his game.”
Thompson became the first man to finish Hendricks in 21 pro bouts.