After breaking his hand early on in his razor thin decision loss to No. 1-ranked Benson Henderson in the main event of January’s UFC on FOX 10, No. 3-ranked lightweight Josh Thomson will look to rebound against talented late replacement Bobby “King” Green on the main card of this Saturday’s (Jul 26, 2014) UFC on FOX 12 from the SAP Center in San Jose, California.
“Punk” was originally scheduled to face surging No. 10-ranked Michael Johnson, but from the sound of his recent appearance on AXS TV’s Inside MMA, Thomson is looking ahead to the future. Still at the top of his game, the 35-year-old veteran believes that he’ll soon be facing old Strikeforce nemesis Gilbert Melendez for a fourth time, with a UFC title at stake in their next bout:
“I think the odds are pretty good. So, let me get past Bobby, and I think the potential of Gil getting past Pettis is pretty high, so I think there’s a lot of potential there for us to fight for the title. I cannot imagine the amount of history they could put into that, to advertising and selling that fight. You know, and I think Gilbert has even said that he’d be willing to bring out the Strikeforce title when he walks out with the UFC title as well, and put that on the line as well, so it would be nice for me to go home with both of those belts.”
Thomson has a good point there, as a potential “Punk” vs. “El Nino” UFC match-up could be built up with an insane amount of fight if they finally met for UFC gold. It would be a fresh and interesting avenue for the stacked 155-pound division, which, despite its bevy of elite talent, has laid dormant since Pettis wrested the belt from Henderson’s grip way back at UFC 164 last August.
But “Punk” only makes a very brief mention of Green, and he can’t look past him. Even though “King” is not highly ranked yet, he’s hungry and motivated to prove he can hang with the top lightweights in UFC.
Still, the massive experience edge goes to Thomson. If he can defeat Green on Saturday, and Melendez rips the belt from Pettis at UFC 182 way off in January, will a fourth match-up of these old foes be on the horizon?