Mike Swick sits down with Josh Thomson to discuss his next fight and future.
On February 18th in the Bellator cage, Josh Thomson will be taking on Patricky ‘Pitbull’ Freire. This website’s namesake, Mike Swick, was able to snatch an interview with Josh. The 38 year old lightweight, Josh ‘The Punk’ Thomson sat down and covered his past, present, and future in MMA.
After all of the smack talk between Josh and Michael Chandler, fans were sure that the two would square off after Chandler’s last title defense. Things didn’t work out that way, as timing seemed to play a big factor on them not throwing down.
“Bellator called me about six weeks out and they asked if I was interested in fighting Chandler for the title, on this (February 18) card. Apparently they didn’t check with Chandler first. I said that I was interested and they went back to Chandler and he said no; He had needed more time. A day or two went by when Bellator called again and offered (Patricky) Pitbull. I had assumed I would be fighting for the title next, but they said they really wanted to have me fight in San Jose. I took the San Jose fight and it is what it is. How are you not going to fight on basically the biggest card in Bellator history with Fedor Emelianenko on it and me as the co-main event? It was kind of a no-brainer.”
With not getting a title shot, you’d expect Josh to be disappointed. However, he isn’t. He’s at the point in his career where he’s enjoying every opportunity he gets. Every chance he gets to fight, train with the guys at AKA, or even doing media days, Josh is relishing all of these moments. Thomson knows that this MMA train isn’t going to last forever and he’s soaking it up as much as he can.
In preparation for his fight against Pitbull, Josh dialed his training way back. He is used to going 3 to 5 rounds, every Monday/Wednesday,Friday at a pretty good pace. He toned it down to once and sometimes twice a week. Josh even said that his second sparring sessions were absurdly light and focused more towards technique.
While Josh is taking his career one fight at a time, he absolutely has his sites set on avenging his split decision loss to Benson Henderson.
“I 100% want to fight Benson Henderson. I’m probably looking at Benson even before Chandler.”
Moving on to the subject of Bellator and how the transition from the UFC was a smooth one, Josh loves where he is at. He’s been tight with President Scott Coker since he fought in Strikeforce and gives a glowing review of the Bellator organization.
“Obviously it’s a great promotion. I haven’t had any problems and there is never any flak from the company. People at Bellator are just genuine; Not to say there weren’t people at the UFC who weren’t genuine, but it’s just different. Bellator for me, feels like home. A lot of the other guys who have come over, say they love it too. It’s just different here. When I go in to the week of the fight it’s run differently and it just feels better. It’s a better fit for me. I’m not saying it’s better for everybody. Every fighter has their own place, but for me, this is the better fit.”
Phil Davis was the first to really test the free agent market and make the jump. Josh left the UFC for Bellator shortly after.
Being one of the first to not re-sign with the UFC and go to Bellator has made Josh an unofficial ‘go-to’ guy for other fighters. When competitors in any of the big organizations are looking at Bellator, Thomson’s opinion is respected by his peers.
Plenty of fighters have called him or contact him on social media, asking how it is at Bellator. Young fighters get a hold of him looking for advice on how to simply get their foot in the door. Veterans want to know how the money is and if management are respectful of the fighters. Speaking only for himself, he’s very happy and he claims they are very fighter friendly.
It’s crazy to believe, but his fight with Pitbull will be Josh Thomson’s 14th fight in San Jose. He has become a staple in the bay area community and the locals come out in droves to support him.
“I can tell you this, I will finish my career here in San Jose. I’m going to make sure that as many as my last fights I have left, will be here in San Jose. I did a lot for the Strikeforce organization to help build it the best I could. My Gilbert Melendez fights did a great job for this community and for the Bay Area. It let everybody know what kind of fighters come out of here. We’ve done a great job building MMA here in the Bay Area and fans will always come out to support me.”
“I was told there was a huge jump in ticket sales, once they announced my fight with Pitbull. Even though Fedor was on the card, they still hadn’t bought tickets until they announced my fight. That right there, makes me feel really good.”
When all of the fans are in the building and the bright lights come on, Josh begrudgingly offers his Fedor vs Mitrione prediction. He gives a slight edge to the Last Emperor. His break-down is on par with most people’s assessment of that fight. Matt’s athleticism vs Fedor’s experience will be the deciding factor. Matt has the speed, size, and reach over Fedor. However, if Fedor gets him to the ground, he is far superior with his grappling. Like Josh, we will have to wait and see how it plays out on February 18th.
Swick asked Josh what the first thing to come out of his mouth will be, after he wins.
“Chandler’s a bitch, haha. I’m just joking. I have a lot of respect for him. He’s a tough kid, but I feel like I have all the tools to beat him. I’m not much of a trash talker, so we’re just going to enjoy this next fight.”
As posted previously, Josh realizes this MMA life doesn’t last forever. While he is wrapping up the tail end of his career, Josh is losing himself in the joy of still being a top competitor. Smart fighters however, know that you need an end game. He’s already invested money into some rental properties and is looking to buy even more after his fight.
Mainly, he’s looking forward to doing the most fun and relaxing thing he can think of. Enjoying life.
“When I retire, I want to sit back and drink coffee every morning. I want to run my gym and my podcast out of my gym; Just have fun. I feel that I could possibly even start working for a promotion, seeking talent. I’m not looking to manage fighters, though. I’m more into getting athletes and pointing them in the right direction. I put a lot of hard work in, the last 20 years. Realistically, I just want to enjoy life and spend time helping other people.”
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