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“Any fighter who tells you they’re not scared of defeat is lying to you”


“Defeat is never fun,” said Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson when we asked him what it felt like to be knocked out for the first time in his career in March 2019, “nobody likes to lose.”

Wonderboy is one of the most successful and accomplished fighters in the UFC and, until that fateful spring day, had never been defeated before. “I had a long winning streak, but in my last fight, I ended up getting knocked out,” he told us. And what a brutal knockout it was. Against the odds, UFC’s most clinical striker found himself at the receiving end of a hook that seemingly came out of nowhere and floored MMA’s golden boy instantly.

“Down, but never out” would be an apt description of Wonderboy. Just after the knockout, he was vlogging from his hospital bed full of positivity and optimism, “you have to be positive in situations like that, it’s what keeps you pushing on.”

Wonderboy is all about testing and pushing his own limits and sometimes, just sometimes, that means going over the edge. “You have to know what you can handle and be able to reflect on what happened to improve and make yourself better for the next time.”

We learn from failures and we learn from the mistakes we make; they’re what allow us to grow as people. And even elite athletes like Wonderboy are no exception. How you respond to and handle defeat is your choice. Wonderboy chose to make it a springboard for greater things. What will you choose?