Josh Thomson has had a long and storied career outside the UFC, competing in WEC, Pride FC and holding the Strikeforce Lightweight title. Since returning to the UFC and TKOing Nate Diaz, Thomson has made his intentions clear: He wants the UFC title.
News broke this week that TJ Grant would be unable to compete against Anthony Pettis in their planned title scrap, so instead Thomson steps up to face ‘Showtime’ at UFC on Fox 9. A huge step up for Thomson, an opportunity that many have fought for to no avail, and one that ‘The Punk’ needs to be ready for.
Thomson was on hand to talk to Bloodyelbow.com about his December title shot:
“It's crazy, and it hasn't really sunk in yet. It's been a zoo since yesterday. It hasn't even been 24 hours, but I've received so many calls and texts from my family and friends. I told Javi [Javier Mendez], 'Let me just relax tonight and spend some time to think about the situation. ‘Then I woke up at 530 this morning, and I couldn't go back to sleep. I was just thinking about the fight.”
“I went out for a run, came back, made some breakfast, and just game planned in my mind how I want to prepare and get ready for a healthy training camp. It's just all been so surreal. Everyone keeps calling to congratulate me, but I don't think congratulations are really in order because I haven't won anything yet. It makes me feel good that I've already got this much love and support, but I haven't achieved anything yet; I haven't won yet.”
Things are certainly moving quickly for Thomson, after only his first return fight he is looking at a title shot against a surging superstar in Pettis. I only hope that it’s not all too soon for JT; sure he has plenty of experience, sporting a 20-5 (1) record, but does he stand a chance against Pettis?
“I don't want to take anything away from a guy like dos Anjos. He's on a big win streak and everything, and he's doing very well. I think it's coming down to the fact that I beat a Diaz in a fashion that no other person has done before. Not only that, but I did it in impressive fashion. I walked out of there with nothing wrong with me except a sore shin.”
“A lot of people overlooked me in the third Gilbert Melendez fight, and when it came down to it, so many people thought I won that fight. From several media sources to regular fans, a lot of people felt I won. That may have had something to do with it, but honestly, I think having that big win over Nate was what set me apart and got me this shot.”
“Had I gone out there and taken Nate down and just laid on him, I wouldn't be getting this call right now. I got the finish, which is something that nobody has ever done, and that got the UFC's attention. Those are the kind of things that make them want to have you back in there, and make them want to push and promote you. I just have to thank the UFC for giving me this opportunity.”
Thomson certainly turned a lot of heads with his nasty head kick victory over the always-dangerous Nate Diaz, although many fans and pundits have had The Punk tagged as top 10 material for a while now.
There is a big difference between being a great fighter and being a champion, I’m intrigued to see if Thomson can bridge the gap.
“I'll be 35 this weekend, and it's one of those things where I don't know if the opportunity will come up again. Everything rides on this for me. It's the moment I've been waiting for since 2004.”
“Every fighter dreams of winning that UFC strap and taking it home and laying in bed with it next to you, or whatever. I remember what it felt like to win the Strikeforce title. The feeling that I had then, it would just be magnified 100 times over, to be able to bring the UFC belt home, and you know, setting it on my couch, watching TV with it [laughs]. Maybe I'll even wear it while I'm watching TV.”
Anyone think that the UFC belt will stay with "Showtime," or will "Punk" be sitting watching T.V on December 14th with a shiny new strap?