To read part one of our exclusive interview with Josh Thomson click here:
A few weeks back we had Gilbert Melendez on BJPenn.Com Radio and he alluded to the fact that Nate Diaz was poked in the eye during his UFC lightweight title fight against Benson Henderson, which may hindered his performance. Keep in mind he wasn’t saying it was intentional, but he felt like the fight turned in Henderson’s favor after the eye poke occurred. Josh Thomson believes it simply came down to the fact that Henderson was the better fighter, nothing more, nothing less.
“I didn’t see any of that, I felt like I saw somebody who lost a fight,” said Thomson. “I don’t really think there was anything else. Benson just came out and fought a great fight, he stayed outside of range, he came in and jumped in with big punches. He dropped him in the fourth round I believe and he fought a perfect fight. He’s been fighting that way his last couple of fights. You can’t take anything away from Benson, he fought a great fight and it showed.”
Thomson wasn’t always this big of a believer in Henderson. As a matter of fact when Benson was the WEC Lightweight Champion, Thomson took umbrage when the media had Henderson ranked in the top 10. Some people took offense to what Thomson said, but in his mind he meant no disrespect towards Henderson, he just felt he hadn’t proven himself yet.
“I think you can tell now that the UFC has released their official rankings, all of the sudden the media changed theirs,” Thomson stated. “I think that’s what’s been going on in this industry. The UFC is the top dog and they set the standard on who is ranked where. The WEC was owned by the UFC at the time and I wanted to voice my concern. I felt like Gil and I should’ve been ranked a little higher than Benson, Cerrone, Pettis and whoever else was in that category. That was back then and you can take it for whatever you want, but this is now and he’s proven himself. He’s been humble about it and I think if you’re going to put your money behind someone as far as representing the sport and being a good person, he’s obviously up there with the top guys. Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard are right up there, those are the guys who represent the sport to the best. People will respect them and appreciate them, they go out there and give it their all every fight.”
UFC on Fox 7 will feature many of Strikeforce’s top fighters including Thomson, Melendez and Daniel Cormier. The UFC couldn’t have picked a better venue than the HP Pavilion in San Jose. The arena was the de facto home for Strikeforce for many years and the site of many of their greatest fights. These guys will feel right at home fighting in familiar territory.
“It’s going to be great, I’m glad that we’re doing it here in San Jose,” said the 34-year-old Thomson. “I felt like the last shows they had out here were in the middle of the day and I don’t think they got the product out there as much as they could have. I feel great that they put all of us local guys on there and gave us an opportunity to put fans in the stands and show the UFC is a huge draw here in San Jose. I’d love to have cards here at least once or twice a year. I love fighting here, my fans and family are all here. It’s going to be a great show, like all of the old Strikeforce shows it has the potential of showing the support that our fans give us here in the Bay area.”
With three fights against Melendez under his belt there is no other fighter in mixed martial arts that has as much knowledge about El Nino’s game than Josh Thomson. For now he is solely focused on his fight with Diaz and will worry about the winner of Melendez-Henderson when his fight is over and done with.
“It really depends, I really can’t tell you,” Thomson admitted. “I’m not really too concerned with what goes on there. I feel like I’m one win away from a title shot and I’ll face one of those guys at the end. I find it kind of ironic that if Gil does win and I beat Nate, his last comments were, “Of course you want to fight the guy who beat up your homey,” well if I beat up Nate, guess who’s next in line! You turned down the fight with me before and now I’m putting you in a position to make you fight me.”
Thomson not only has retribution on his mind concerning Melendez, but he also feels like he was robbed during his first UFC run. He feels like things could’ve gone much differently had he been granted a title shot back in 2004.
“I feel like Dana, Lorenzo and those guys took something from me back in 2004,” said Thomson. “I’m here to get it back with my presence back in the UFC and that’s my title shot that I deserved with the Yves Edwards fight. I feel like if it was for the title back then I wouldn’t have fought the way I fought. I wouldn’t have fought arrogant and cocky, I would’ve fought a safer, more conservative fight. I would’ve dominated him the way that I was for the first 4:45 of that fight. When I’m coming back to the UFC I want to make sure I get what’s owed to me and that’s a title shot.”"bj Penn", Anthony Pettis, benson henderson, bjpenndotcom, BJPennDotCom Radio, Dana White, daniel cormier, Donald Cerrone, featured, Frankie Edgar, Gilbert Melendez, Gray Maynard, HP Pavilion, Josh Thomson, Lorenzo Fertitta, MMA NEWS, nate diaz, Strikeforce, ufc lightweight championship, ufc news, ufc on fox 5, UFC on FOX 7, wec lightweight championship, Yves Edwards