Josh Thomson was originally set to face off against current UFC lightweight champ Anthony Pettis last December in Sacramento, California. That was until a torn meniscus sidelined the champ.
Now he is headlining this weekend’s UFC on FOX, against the man that Pettis stripped of the title, Benson Henderson.
Though the two are stylistically similar, they each hold a different challenge for Thomson. And with Thomson originally training to fight Pettis, (who likes to use his spectacular striking and tae kwon do abilities to stay on the outside), Bendo is a different challenge entirely, as he tends to be more in-your-face.
In a recent interview with MMAFighitng.com, Thomson discussed this weekend’s scheduled battle with Benson Henderson.
“They both kick a lot,” noted Thomson. “Benson puts a lot more emphasis on wrestling. Pettis tries to stay long. Benson jumps in with punches and kicks. Pettis tries to stay on the outside with kicks to make it hard to reach him. It’s a way different fight. Eventually, you have to fight both of them anyway. After I beat Benson, I plan on fighting Pettis. Benson wrestles more. I’m expecting him to try to wrestle me to death.”
The fight will – without a doubt – be a war, and is expected to go all five rounds. Nothing new to either fighter, who both have outstanding cardio and keep a relentless pace. And though both have their fair share of finishes under their belts, neither of them have been stopped more than twice in their respected careers.
One thing that could stand in the way of Thomson however, is the fact that he recently claimed that he’s had the worse training camp of his career. With his training being so off schedule he has to hope that being a much of a seasoned vet as he is pays off. He had trained himself to be prepared for the Pettis fight in December, but when that fell through he had to stretch his peak and try to conserve the fire until a later date, which proved to be a bit challenging.
“I felt good, then I started feeling flat,” he said. “Then I didn’t feel strong… This camp was long, and I didn’t feel as strong at the end because I was eating so clean and training so hard for so long. One night I went to bed and I was 174, and woke up at 166. I’m fighting to keep weight on.”
Even though the pressure is on, like it is in any fight with the top dogs in the division, Thomson says that he isn’t feeling the weight. He’s not naive however, and is well aware of how important this bout truly is.
“I don’t feel a sense of urgency,” he said. “But if I lose this fight, I don’t think they’ll be giving me a title shot, even if I win my next one or two fights. I really need to win this fight.”
The two are set to face off this Saturday, January 25 live from Chicago, on UFC on FOX. The main event is scheduled to begin at 8pm ET 5pm PT.
Tags: benson henderson, FOX UFC Saturday, Josh Thomson