On Wednesday night, April 26, Josh Thomson joined BJPENN.COM Radio for the second time in as many months following a huge TKO victory over Nate Diaz in his return to the Octagon on UFC on FOX 7. Thomson’s previous appearance came in late March while he was in training camp for Diaz at the American Kickboxing Academy.
In the second round, Thomson connected with a head kick that badly hurt Diaz and commenced to landing two straight right hands before finishing Diaz on the ground with punches. For Thomson, the result seemed almost surreal.
“I played the fight over in my head a hundred times, and never did I have it go down like this, you know? I mean you dream about it, you think about it, but it doesn’t really happen like this, you know? So honestly, right now I can’t say enough,” the former Strikeforce stalwart told hosts George Matthews and Pedro Carrasco.
Despite obligations that saw him filming parts of a movie in China before starting his official training camp, and feeling over-trained in the last two weeks leading up to the fight, Thomson said that by Wednesday or Thursday of fight week when he started to cut weight that he felt like himself.
Nerves crept in on Saturday morning as the fight inched closer, as Thomson got nervous thinking that he wouldn’t have a proper amount of time to rehydrate his body. Those nerves, however, didn’t last long.
“Around noon, one o’clock right before we had to go check in I just got like a little pump of energy and it just- man, I felt like a million bucks. And I just, I don’t know- like I said, there’s where you show up to the venue, right, and you’re thinking to yourself, ‘man, I’m just not feeling it”, but this was really not one of those times. I showed up to the venue feeling like- feeling that little bit of a tingle, you know? Like excitement and feeling energy, and just feeling energetic and ready to go, and I was like, ‘man, where’s this been?’ I actually felt good.”
During what he called a “good, not great” training camp, Thomson did take time to account for Diaz’s more unorthodox tactics, including having both his kickboxing coach and sparring partners openly taunt him. In addition, he took the time to game plan and drill to his strengths.
“To be honest, my whole camp was based around two things: kicking his legs, ‘cause [the Diaz brothers] don’t tend to check kicks, and he gives to that side a lot. So kind of making sure that we kicked the lead leg a lot, pushed him to the body a lot; those were the things that we wanted to kind of keep his hands kind of at about waist level, making sure his elbows stayed into the stomach area. And then, just setting up that head kick- because he dipped that way- so setting him up and always making him think about it, you know? Those were the two things that we mainly worked on in that camp was ripping that leg kick and then getting him thinking about the legs and the lower body- the push kicks- and then getting ready to go up top.”
Once the head kick landed up top, Thomson made sure to remain calm and ensure that Diaz was actually hurt before he committed to following up with ensuing punishment.
“There was a couple things: I felt the kick land, but the first one actually- the first kick that I landed in the first round- actually felt better than that one because I hit him with more of my foot in the first one and it felt more flush, you know? This one, I felt like- I don’t know if I was really watching or whatever, but I felt like I grazed his head with my bone, with my shin. But then I saw him wobble a bit- that’s why if you watch the fight again, I kind of, like, step back like, “Okay, is he going to do something?’ and I saw him wobble a little. And then I wanted to make sure that I didn’t come in too hard and just flurry and miss my punches, so if you notice my next two shots were right on the chin; two right hands.
“As I was ground-and-pounding and I was trying to put him away, I kept the ref in my peripheral making sure that he was always right there near by, and just stayed busy as best I could and I didn’t see the towel [thrown by Nick Diaz] at all.”
Be sure to check back for part 2 of Josh Thomson’s exclusive interview with BJPENN.COM Radio, and listen to the full-length interview by using the player below.Tags: Josh Thomson, mma, MMA NEWS, ufc, ufc news