For former Strikeforce Lightweight champion Josh “The Punk” Thomson, it was a matter of time before he found himself in a match for a UFC title, though I’m sure he was not expecting to have it this soon.
UFC Lightweight champion Anthony “Showtime” Pettis was originally supposed to make his first title defense against contender TJ Grant; however Grant sustained an injury and will be sidelined. Pettis will now face Thomson in the main event of the UFC on Fox 9 event, Dec. 14.
This comes as a surprise to many fans as Thomson has only had one fight in the UFC after being away from the octagon for for also eight years. Back in April he defeated TUF 5 winner Nate Diaz via TKO in the second round. Not only did he earn his first “Knockout of the Night” bonus, but also The Punk became the first fighter to finish Diaz.
Although Pettis is the clear favorite in this fight, finishing Thomson will be no easy task. In addition to being a former Strikeforce champion, Thomson has defeated several notable names in the lightweight division. Thomson is most remembered for his trilogy with rival and fellow former Strikeforce champion Gilbert Melendez. The Punk has also not been finished in a fight since his 2004 loss to Yves Edwards. He also trains with a great gym in American Kickboxing Academy.
Pettis will be riding a lot of momentum into this match, having recently beaten Benson Henderson – for the second time – to win the UFC Lightweight championship. While some may not believe that Thomson is ready for a title shot, I think The Punk will be a good first title defense for Showtime, who could see holding the championship for a long time.
Unfortunately the loser in this is Grant, but I’m sure the UFC would be willing to let him face the winner of the Pettis vs. Thomson fight.
Who do you think will win this match? Answer with a comment below, send a tweet to @alstover or email [email protected]