Former Strikeforce lightweight champion Josh “The Punk” Thomson, who made an emphatic statement in his knockout of UFC lightweight Nate Diaz, claimed former UFC lightweight champion Benson “Smooth” Henderson is a tougher fight than current UFC lightweight champion Anthony “Showtime” Pettis.
Thomson will face Henderson Jan. 25 at UFC on FOX 10, and said “for me personally, stylistically, Benson is more of a threat than Pettis.”
Thomson went on to say, “not to mention that this is the opportunity to fight someone that has been the champ for the last couple years. For me, I think Benson has the bigger name. Not to take anything away from Pettis, but Henderson has been more active over the last two years, so there was no way I could pass on this opportunity.”
“Benson is so well rounded. Honestly, it’s like I’m looking at myself in a mirror, fight-wise, just with a left handed person,” Thomson said. “He offers everything from the grappling to the wrestling, the clinch work, the takedowns; it’s gonna be a tough fight. At any moment, the pace of the fight can change and go anywhere.”
Thomson compared Pettis to former Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez when he said “with Pettis, you know he’s going to pretty much try to keep it on the feet the whole time. He’s not going to try and mix it up. Gil is sort of the same way. They’re kind of set in their ways on how they train and the focus on the things that they do.”
Thomson believes he and Henderson are similarly well-rounded and said “we really take the fight everywhere. Whenever an opportunity presents itself, we have the ability to seize it. I’ve told people before, I’m not the best in anything. I’m not the best stand-up guy, I’m not the best grappler, I’m not the best wrestler. The thing is, I have the ability to put a lot of things together and keep you guessing. Ben [Henderson] is the same way, and that makes both of us very dangerous.”