Oli Thompson Talks FNG Exit, Previews This Saturday’s ROAD 47 FC Grand Prix
When two fight UFC heavyweight Oli Thompson signed to Fight Nights Global, he was optimistic about his future and excited about being active for the first time since 2015. His first fight was scheduled for Sao Paulo, Brazil against an undefeated Russian prospect Shamil Akmedov.
“I was excited to fight regularly because I haven’t done that for a while. So I was looking to get my three fights in before the of this calendar year which would have been a good schedule for me.”
The Akhmedov fight was scheduled for light-heavyweight and thus Thompson, who usually competes at heavyweight, had to put in a lot of care and preparation into his weight cut.
“We are doing the weight cut which obviously makes the training camp a lot more intense, adds a lot of levels of stress to the normal levels of stress you have from the normal day to day training anyway.”
However, Thompson found the lack of promotion for the upcoming event rather strange. Especially considering that it was the promotion’s first trip to Brazil and was headlined by a light-heavyweight title fight between Fabio Maldonado and Nikita Krylov. Thompson was eager to break the news of his fight and kept asking his management team when his fight will be officially announced.
“Eventually, there was basically some news that I got from my friend who said he heard from another guy that they were delaying it by three weeks.”
Thompson also heard rumours that the fight would no longer be in Sao Paulo, Brazil but instead in Novosibirsk, Russia – a change of scenery to say the least. However, Thompson was more bothered about the lack of communication between the promotion and the fighters.
“A bit of a problem in that things are changing and no one is telling me, this isn’t how it should be – the fighters should be the first ones to know (…) I sympathise with any changes and any issues they have that need changes but the communication is not good enough, unfortunately.”
“It makes a big difference for my weight cut as well as my finances and my whole schedule and plan.”
The now rescheduled fight was supposed to happen on May 5th. However, Thompson started noticing similar issues as he did for the previous event. There was a clear lack of promotion and no tickets being sold. At this point, he started losing faith as he would have needed to delay his wight cut once again and take another financial hit.
“I decided enough was enough. I needed to take control of my career, of my situation rather than just waiting and being changed and moved around by other people. So I made the decision that I was going to exit the company. It was unfortunate and it was something that I wasn’t happy to do but as an individual, I had to take control of my career so I gave my notice in, unfortunately. I wish them well and I wish my opponent well, I hope he gets matched up.”
Despite the somewhat sour note on which the partnership between Thompson and FNG ended, Thompson does not rule out working with them in the future.
“I’m not going to talk to you bad about them and say I wouldn’t sign with them, that’s not how I’m looking at it. I wish the company and Kamil and the guys there, I wish them all well and maybe it’s something we can revisit.”
As one door closed, another one opened for the Oli Thompson. Having been in contact with the South Korean based ROAD FC, he was offered a place in the upcoming Openweight Grand-Prix after Jerome Le Banner was forced to withdraw. Thompson has experience in similar tournaments, having won the IGF Grand-Prix in 2015.
“Openweight excites me, I find it fun, I watch Openweight. You don’t know what you are going to get. You might get a guy who is really good and technical and you might get a guy who is really big, overweight and slow but if he gets on top of you, you are in trouble. You get a real mixture, a real mixed bunch and I think it can be great TV or awful. It’s fun not knowing what you are going to get.”
“I don’t mind fighting bigger, heavier guys. IGF guys were huge and the guys in this ROAD FC tournament are also big, heavy guys but they are not in the shape I’m in. They are a lot heavier than me with a lot smaller frames than me.”
“People that are committed to being a force and still have ambitions in this sport are going to come in shape regardless of what they have to weigh. Whilst people who are enjoying a little ride and haven’t got the commitment 24/7 that I do and some other people do, they will eat too much and not train enough.”
The tournament consists of eight fighters. Thompson gave MMAToday a quick rundown of the more notable names competing.
“I’m a fan of Chris, I like his style. He is a good guy, he is fun to watch, he experiments, he fights in a non-standard way. It’s fun to watch especially with his build. Having said that, I’m confident I can deal with him if it came to it again like I did the first time.”
“Alexander Lungu won’t lay a hand on me. He won’t be able to come close to me, he hasn’t got the speed, the movement and he has avoided fights with me several fights with me in Romania.”
Siala ‘Mighty Mo’ Siliga:
“Mighty Mo is the ROAD FC champion. Tough guy, got respect for Mo. He is tough, he’s enjoyed a little resurgence in ROAD with some opponents that I would take care of pretty handily also. I respect his calibre and he is on a good run so credit for that but I’m not worried about his fights. If you look at the calibre of guys that I have fought and been fighting it’s a different, different league.”
“Gilbert Yvel is for me is a dark horse at the moment because I don’t what Gilbert Yvel will show up at ROAD FC. Obviously, at his best, he is a dangerous a dangerous striker no doubt about it. I’m curious to see what his time away and his reasons for coming back are and what condition he is in.”
“He is quite big, obviously a big chap as you can see. He is fighting another Korean guy he’s already beaten. I think he’s got a pretty comfortable first round draw. I’m sure they would like him to do well because he is a local guy for the fans and stuff. He brings a few kilos more than me that’s for sure but he is not bringing anything else that I haven’t seen in all my fight I’ve had to be honest.”
Not much is known about Thompson’s first-round opponent, Chaolong Deng. Which according to Thompson could have caused a lack of motivation and thus reduced the intensity of his training but since he spent a large portion of the year preparing for Shamil Akhmedov it shouldn’t be an issue.
“I prepared hard, I’ve been motivated because I was looking to beat Shamil Akhmedov in FNG and be the top contender to fight Krylov or Maldonado for the belt so I was motivated and hungry to train hard anyway so I’ve worked hard. I’ve got myself into good shape. The only thing that I’m not knowing is stylistically what this guy will bring to the fight but I’m not concerned about that. I just need to go out there and assert myself and dominate him everywhere.”
In between his ROAD FC fights, Thompson will look to stay busy with kickboxing fights. Although it may seem ill-advised to some, he believes that it will keep him sharp. Thompson is not worried about getting injured during one of those fights as he believes training can be just as dangerous and injuries in MMA are not preventable. Furthermore, all of his fights will have to be approved by ROAD FC.
“I want to be busy, I want to train hard every day and I want to earn and want to build a nice, good legacy.”
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