Minnesota Martial Arts Academy is home to UFC Champion Brock Lesnar but the MMAA is also home to another star, one of the best young fighters not in the UFC, the last man to hold the BodogFight Title, welterweight Nick “The Goat” Thompson.
Thompson holds a record of 38-10-1 in 49 fights, winning 22 by submission and another 10 coming via the TKO.
Nick Thompson, one of the most fan-friendly and personable stars in MMA today has just been added to the Strikeforce roster. Recently I had the pleasure of interviewing “The Goat”. Let’s have look,
Rory Gold: You’re only 27 yet you’ve had almost 50 pro fights. It seems like a huge number of fights for such a young guy. Why so many?
Nick Thompson: “I love to fight. I would fight every month if I could.”
RG: With so many fights there must have been a lot of fights with second or third tier organizations, Dennis Kang recently mentioned that when he started out he was forced to fight in warehouses or Indian reservations because the acceptance of MMA wasn’t what it is now. Other than losing a fight, what was your worst experience fighting for some minor promoters?
NT: “I fought in the parking lot of a Machine Shed restaurant. It wasn't even the front parking lot; it was in the back by the dumpsters. And on top of that, it was at night and it was raining. Good times!”
If you don’t know the Machine Shed chain of restaurants, it’s not the kind of place you would expect a world class fighter to start his career.
RG: You’ve come a long way from fighting in front of a dumpster; MMA has brought you around the world everywhere from Russia, Costa Rica, Japan and of course the US and Canada. How would you compare your experiences?
NT: “Russia was beyond cool. Saint Petersburg is the most beautiful city to which I have ever been. The whole city was like a museum. Costa Rica was also incredible. We stayed at a five star hotel. Our room was right down the hall from where dignitaries and heads of state were staying. And right out the door was a beach that was indescribable (Playa Tambor).
That was probably the best part about fighting for Bodog. They always took us to exotic locations and put us up in posh places. I was fortunate that after I left Bodog, I was able to sign with Sengoku in Japan.
I absolutely love Japan. I love the people, the culture...and the sushi. All that being said, probably my favorite place is Vancouver. The city is very similar to Tokyo as far as the architecture, the way the mountains drop right down into the ocean and of course the sushi.”
Nick Thompson has a reason to love Saint Petersburg; it was where he disposed of current Bellator Fighting Championship star Eddie Alvarez to win the BodogFight Welterweight title.
RG: What was it like fighting in front of Vladimir Putin AND Jean Claude Van Damme? That must have been some weird after party.
NT: “After my fight, I cornered Derrick Noble (for his fight vs. Erik Oganov). Shortly after that, I get a call that I was supposed to have gotten on a bus to go to Putin's palace to have dinner with him and (Silvio) Berlusconi (the Italian Prime Minister).
And apparently Putin was asking where the champ was because he wanted to meet me. But by the time I would have gotten a ride to the palace and cleared security, it would have been too late.
At first I was bummed. How often do you get an opportunity like that? But then I thought, lots of people get to meet the president. How many people blow off a president, much less two?”
RG: You were the last BodogFight Champion; did they let you keep the belt?
NT: “They sure did. The belt is nice too.”
RG: Obviously, you enjoy every win but is there a win that was sweeter than the rest?
NT: “I think the fight that sticks out the most is my win over Alvarez. While he wasn't as well known as he is now, he had been knocking everyone out. And no one thought I was going to win. Everyone thought I would be diving for takedowns and that Eddie would eventually knock me out.
I think it was very unexpected, that I would stand with him and even more unexpected that I would get the better of him in the standup. The only thing that could have made that fight better was if my wife could have been there. She has only had to have missed a few of my nearly 50 fights and unfortunately that was one.”
It was that loss to Thompson that made Eddie Alvarez first consider then eventually drop to 155lbs to continue his MMA career.
RG: You signed on with Strikeforce in February, but they have yet to give you a fight. Do you know who your first fight will be against and when? Is there someone on the roster you want to fight most?
NT: “I don't care who I fight, I just want to fight. I am really irritated that Strikeforce hasn't used me yet. I call weekly and beg them to find me a fight. And to make it worse, they are having welterweights fight who are not ranked as highly as I am.
It is really frustrating. Hopefully they will find me something soon. Or if not, since my contract is not exclusive, hopefully another organization will have an interest in using me.”
Nick “The Goat” Thompson was recently promoted to the top 10 of both Sherdog’s and MMAWeekly.com’s Welterweight rankings. The Goat nickname came after being knocked out with some regularity during training, so his teammates named him after the fainting goat, a species of goat that will faint if startled. Nick got better but the nickname stuck.
RG: Sherdog and MMAweekly.com have both promoted you to the top 10 of their welterweight rankings how long before The Goat becomes The G.O.A.T.?
NT: “I don't think that will ever happen. I make too many mistakes. Maybe with time, I can become the fourth or fifth G.O.A.T.”
RG: I remember about five or six years ago when I was taking bets on UFC fights a lot of the fighters would have their families make bets for them. Do you (or other fighters) ever look at the odds for your fights? Do fighters still bet on themselves or against fighters they hope will lose?
NT: “I have no idea if fighters bet on themselves. I never have. If I am going to gamble, it will be playing poker. Someday I would love to play in the WSOP. I don't have any delusion of winning; it would just be fun to play.”
RG: You have one of the best MMA shirts I’ve ever seen “Almost nobody beats me” where did you get the idea?
NT: “Fedor has a shirt that has half of his face, the number one and says “Nobody beats me.” Well, I have been beaten...but only by a few people. So my shirt has the number four, half of my face and says “almost nobody beats me.”
For those interested in picking up one of these fantastic shirts check out www.NickThompson.tv and click on Merch.
RG: Switching gears now. A lot of people may not know this but you’re probably one of the smartest fighters in MMA as you’ve earned a Jurist Doctorate and passed the bar exam. When do you plan on using it?
NT: “I just started practicing. I am doing criminal defense work. I handle DUIs, assaults, etc. So if you are going to get arrested for beating someone up, give me a call. I am you guy.”
RG: Ha! I’ll keep that in mind.
RG: Do you have any recommendations to President Obama as to who he should nominate to replace David Souter on the US Supreme Court?
NT: “My step-dad. He is a damn good judge. That aside, I really like Alan Page (former Viking great and now the senior justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court). I don't always agree with his decisions but they are well reasoned.
Honestly though, I am a little biased. He is someone who was an inspiration for me because he got his Jurist Doctorate while playing in the NFL and from the same school none the less.”
RG: We’ll look for him during the nomination process. This about wraps it up for now.
NT: I just wanted to thank my sponsors TapouT, MMA Overload, and Gamma-O.
RG: Thank you Nick, I want to wish you much success in your future fights and let’s hope Strikeforce will get off their asses and find you a fight. I see another Championship in your future. Is their anything else you wanted to add?
NT: “Yes. If you come up to me and say that you just saw one of my fights, please don't let the next words out of your mouth be “you were fighting Jake Shields” or “Karo Parisyan.”
People do this all the time. And it's not that I am ashamed of those fights. I learned a ton from them and they made me a better fighter. It’s that I really have no where to go with the conversation from there.”
Thanks for reading, be sure to check out www.nickthompson.tv and Nick’s sponsors TapouT, MMA Overload and Gamma-O.