josh-thomson-14.jpgUFC on FOX 7 doesn’t mark the first meeting between Josh Thomson and Nate Diaz. The two met six years ago in a grappling superfight at the Gracie Open.

Diaz, whose longtime trainer (and now-former manager), Cesar Gracie, promotes the grappling competition, won the bout by “advantage,” which meant he held more superior positions in the match.

Thomson remembers his coach, Dave Camarillo, was up in arms at a decision he thought was ill-gotten. Cheating was the word he used.

Thomson couldn’t summon much outrage, though. Compared to fighting, the match was a breeze, and it had benefits.

“I walked off the mat like, who gives a crap: I got paid,” said Thomson, who added that he banked a cool $1,000 for a few minutes’ work. “I wish I could do this every weekend.”

It’s been a few weekends since Thomson (19-5 MMA, 2-1 UFC) marshaled his resources for his other, harder job. But on Saturday, he’ll meet again with Diaz (16-8 MMA, 11-6 UFC) on the FOX-televised main-card of the event, which takes place at HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif.

Pride is on the line this time, and Thomson, who still trains at the same gym he did when he grappled with Diaz, stands to win a lot more than $1,000. He believes he “messed up” his previous bout, though the crowd who witnessed it might think otherwise.

Thomson stood in the middle of the cage in the now-defunct Strikeforce and implored booing fans to go easy on then-lightweight champ Gilbert Melendez, who earned a split-call in their rubber match.

But it’s still Melendez, who counts Diaz as a training partner and friend, that gets a title shot against UFC lightweight champ Benson Henderson.

Does Thomson feel it should be him fighting Henderson? Yes. Has he let that feeling fester? No, if you ask him.

“It’s a little upsetting, but I have gotten over it,” Thomson told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). “I’ve got to move on to Nate.”

Thomson, a product of San Jose, Calif.’s American Kickboxing Academy, has fought 10 times since his first Diaz encounter with six under the roof of the HP Pavilion. But he hasn’t fought since this past May, when he lost the split-call to Melendez. He was scheduled to fight Caros Fodor at an ill-fated Strikeforce event slated for this past September, and he wasn’t placed on the promotion’s final event three months ago.

You might be right to say Thomson was caught in the middle of a bad romance between Strikeforce parent Zuffa and Showtime, as often lamented by UFC President Dana White. But Thomson, a 12-year veteran of the sport, didn’t sit and sulk. He flew to China.

This past December, “The Punk” signed on to a Roger Corman-produced remake of “Fist of the Dragon,” which originally starred kickboxer (and onetime UFC commentator) Don “The Dragon” Wilson. Rather than play the tough-looking extra or a stuntman, he was booked for the lead role in a six-week shoot. The movie is set for a January 2014 release.

The last time Thomson made headlines for his camera work, he was fending off a flirty girl during an appearance on “Blind Date” arranged by the UFC.

“They’ve already offered me part two,” Thomson said of his lead role. “That’s something I definitely might be interested in, and working on my acting skills some more.”

Diaz, though, is his No. 1 priority. At the time he played the dating game, he was a rising star in the UFC. After a highlight-reel knockout loss to Yves Edwards, he left the promotion for overseas work and found his way to Strikeforce, who built him up as a major star. By the time the promotion was on its last legs, he had already headlined or co-headlined several events and earned a spot on several top-10 lists.

Saturday marks his return to the UFC, which has thrown him right into the thick of the lightweight division. A win over onetime title challenger Diaz might position him within striking distance of a title shot, though his chances might slim if Melendez is able to take the belt from Henderson.

For the amount of time he’s been in the sport, it might also be the start of a final run at a major title. But the 34-year-old Thomson said he isn’t thinking about retirement just yet.

“I’m trying to move on to the next shot, which is the next shot at the title,” he said. “I’m really not focused on anything else right now. I’m taking it one fight at a time and seeing where it leads me.”

He already has a good idea of what Diaz brings to the table on the mat, but he’s also prepared himself for what the Stockton, Calif., fighter brings on his feet, which includes the occasional middle finger along with high-volume punches.

“I’ve just got to go in there and be mellow and get the job done,” Thomson said. “I’ve met Nate, I’ve talked to Nate, and I’ve done a grappling match against Nate. He’s a good kid. If he wants to talk trash, that’s cool. I’m not going to take anything personal.”

And this time around, the only positions Thomson will give up are the ones that draw punches.

“I know that I’m definitely not going to stand right in front of him,” Thomson said. “I’ve got to mix it up from punching and kicking and taking him down. I know I’ll have to be well-rounded to win this fight.”

For more on UFC on FOX 7, stay tuned to the UFC Rumors section of the site.

view original article >>
Report here if this news is invalid.
From Around the Web

Related News

UFC on FOX 15 lineup finalized with eight bouts on FOX

  • 27 days ago
  • 14 views

The lineup for UFC on FOX 15, the UFC’s return to New Jersey, is set.Filed under: News, UFC read news >>

UFC on Fox 15 bout order finalized, Herrig vs. VanZant opens up main card

  • 27 days ago
  • 0 views

See the bout order for the finalized UFC on Fox 15: Machida vs. Rockhold card in Newark, New Jersey on April 18th. The bout order for UFC on Fox 15 at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey is n read news >>

Lyoto Machida Takes Weapons Inventory Ahead of Luke Rockhold (video) | MMAWeekly.com

  • 26 days ago
  • 15 views

Ahead of his UFC on FOX 15 fight with Luke Rockhold, Lyoto Machida spoke with MMAWeekly.com, taking stock of his weapons arsenal and detailing his strengths. read news >>

Video: Patrick Cummins wants to 'surprise' Ovince St. Preux on the feet at UFC on FOX 15

  • 25 days ago
  • 10 views

Former barista turned Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) light heavyweight contender Patrick Cummins wants to show off his entire mixed martial arts (MMA) arsenal when he takes on Ovince St. Preux read news >>

Luke Rockhold's Keys to Beating Lyoto Machida at UFC on FOX 15 (video) | MMAWeekly.com

  • 23 days ago
  • 11 views

Luke Rockhold goes one-on-one with MMAWeekly.com to break down his upcoming fight with Lyoto Machida. read news >>

UFC on FOX 15's Luke Rockhold: I believe I'm the best fighter in the world

  • 23 days ago
  • 13 views

Former Strikeforce middleweight champion Luke Rockhold has long been considered one of the best 185-pound fighters in the world. By the time this year is over, the 30-year-old aims to prove he’s the read news >>

Full Fight Video Flashback: Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs. Juliana Lima From UFC on Fox 12 | MMAWeekly.com

  • 22 days ago
  • 1 views

No. 1 women's strawweight contender Joanna Jedrzejczyk debuted her skills against Juliana Lima inside the Octagon at UFC on Fox 12. read news >>

PBC Boxing on NBC draws 3.4 million viewers, tops recent UFC on FOX efforts

  • 22 days ago
  • 10 views

Ratings are in from PBC boxing live on NBC, and the news is good for the future of the company. But maybe not as good for the UFC. This past weekend, the big player in the combat sports world was Pre read news >>

UFC on FOX 15's Pat Cummins explains why he called for random drug testing

  • 20 days ago
  • 9 views

One day before the UFC announced the creation of an out-of-competition testing program, UFC light heavyweight Pat Cummins called for his upcoming opponent, Ovince Saint Preux, to submit to random blo read news >>

Trending News

Top News

Jump to: