Opinion: Josh Thomson Is Ready For UFC Lightweight Title Shot
By Michael Hatamoto
Former Strikeforce lightweight champion Josh Thomson will step into the UFC octagon later this year as lightweight title contender, squaring off with champion Anthony Pettis.
The lightweight title fight will take place as the main event of UFC on Fox 9 on December 14 from the Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento, California.
Despite losing two of his last three Strikeforce fights between 2010 and 2012, Thomson destroyed Nate Diaz by TKO in his UFC return. The UFC originally wanted to match up Pettis against T.J. Grant, but Grant is injured, and opened the door for Thomson.
Thomson is 35-years-old and understands this could be the last chance he’ll have to hold a major MMA championship – he’s suffered a number of injuries throughout his career, and the American Kickboxing Academy (AKA) fighter likely has one shot to win.
If not, the UFC will not be inclined to give him a steady flow of top-level competition if he’s unable to fight consistently.
I think Thomson has the wrestling pedigree to force Pettis to defend takedowns – but if he tries to keep it standing – Pettis will be able to land accurate heavy punches, kicks, and elbows. Thomson won’t be quick enough to try and stand and bang for 25 minutes against a younger, faster opponent in Pettis.
It would be a UFC marketing nightmare if Thomson somehow manages to best Pettis, as Pettis is a well-rounded fighter, has an exciting standup style, and is a young and is liked by MMA fans. Honestly, I think a fight between Pettis and UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo – but that’s a fight that could happen if Pettis gets by Thomson.