After suffering a highly debated decision loss against former champion Benson Henderson, Josh Thomson will return to the Octagon in a pivotal lightweight clash against Michael Johnson at UFC on FOX 12. Thusfar, only one other fight has been confirmed for the event, with Anthony Johnson taking on Antonio Rogerio Nogueira. The card goes down on July 26 at SAP Centre (formerly named HP Pavilion) in San Jose, CA. The headliner for the card is yet to be announced, though both of the hitherto announced bouts are expected to feature of the main card.
With Thomson ranked #3 in the stacked 155lbs division and with wins over Gilbert Melendez and Nate Diaz on an impressive resumé, a win over Michael Johnson could be enough to finally see Thomson fight for the title.
Josh Thomson was booked in to face current champion Anthony Pettis at UFC on FOX 9, replacing an injured TJ Grant. However, after Pettis suffered a knee injury, Thomson’s opportunity to fight for the title was taken away from him. ‘The Punk’ made the ultimately fatal error of keeping active rather than staying on the sidelines waiting for his shot at the title, and was booked in for the main event of UFC on FOX 10 against former champion Benson Henderson.
In a close and entertaining fight which exploited both fighters’ abilities in all facets of the sport, Thomson ended up on the losing end of a split decision that many fans and media members debate to this day. With Henderson ranked #2, a former champion and having wins over the whose-who of the lightweight division, the loss for Thomson was not too damaging, though it will take an impressive win over Michael Johnson to announce Thomson as a contender once again.
Michael Johnson’s late 2013 run was one of the most surprising, and impressive, in the lightweight division, with wins over tough and respected UFC stalwarts in Joe Lauzon and Gleison Tibau. ‘The Menace’ followed that up with a decision win over former contender Melvin Guillard in February, and will look to take his winning streak to four with the biggest fight of his career against Josh Thomson. With Thomson the #3 fighter in a talent stacked division, a win will skyrocket Johnson into the top 5 of the division and a shot at the title would be imminent for the Blackzillians product.
With TJ Grant and Nate Diaz ‘inactive’ but raring to return, Khabib Nurmagomedov and Bobby Green in the mix, and Rustam Khabilov vs. Benson Henderson, Anthony Pettis vs. Gilbert Melendez, Donald Cerrone vs. Jim Miller and a whole host of fun match-ups in the pipeline, exciting times are to come in the lightweight division. Josh Thomson vs. Michael Johnson is another piece of great match-making from Joe Silva, and the 155lbs division is shaping up to be very intriguing in 2014.
— UFC (@ufc) May 9, 2014