Man, it must really suck to be Pat Healy right about now coming off the NC due to the failed drug test, you gotta think that'd have been his shot with the win over Miller otherwise.
Personally, I think dos Anjos probably deserves the shot more and is the bigger challenge because with Thomson, you always hear about the overtraining and constant injuries that drag him down and his overall inconsistency to maintain top levels of performance, but I get them going with the hot hand in Thomson with the Diaz win in everybody's mind.
Still, jeez I'm not a big fan of Thomson, with one straight win getting the title shot. I know they want to fast-track this fight for the FOX card, but I'd almost wish they waited until Healy/Khabib this Saturday to announce the next contender, as the winner of that would have had a helluva better run than Thomson has.
Hell, I'd have been hard pressed not to pull Melendez from the Diego fight and plug him in there against Pettis, even coming off a loss. I really don't see Thomson as having much of a shot and think that while they were limited in their choices, there were better alternatives, dos Anjos or winner of Khabib/Healy being at the top of the list....
Eddie Alvarez should be getting the shot.
UFC on FOX 9 title challenger Josh Thomson: I haven't won anything yet
"Everyone's calling me and congratulating me," the 34-year-old UFC lightweight told MMAjunkie.com of a surprise title shot later this year at UFC on FOX 9. "I haven't won s--t yet. Until I win this fight, it doesn't feel like anything special right now."
Except that it already kind of does. Tuesday morning, Thomson (20-5 MMA, 3-1 UFC) said he was up at 5:30 a.m. and had run, showered, eaten and contemplated how to beat lightweight champion Anthony Pettis (17-2 MMA, 4-1 UFC) before he walked into his longtime gym at American Kickboxing Academy in San Jose, Calif.
There, he mapped out a few different scenarios with coaches about a myriad of situations he might face with the unpredictable fighter, sketched out a game plan, shot some videos for the UFC, and probably prepared a few sound bites for a two-hour block of interviews Tuesday night.
Yep, nothing out of the ordinary.
UFC on FOX 9 takes place Dec. 14 at Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento, Calif. Pettis vs. Thomson headlines the FOX-televised main card following prelims on FOX Sports 1 and Facebook.
Since announcing himself as a future contender by knocking out Nate Diaz with a spectacular head kick at UFC on FOX 7, Thomson has directed much of his energy at calling for fights against top contenders, including Pettis, who was briefly marooned between featherweight and lightweight following a knee injury.
Now, Benson Henderson is no longer the 155-pound champion of the world. Pettis is, and the person with the first guaranteed shot at him, T.J. Grant, is still benched following a concussion he suffered in training.
In a matter of moments, Thomson went from a top prospect to a title contender, which is a step he wasn't able to make in 2004, when the UFC's lightweight division was shuttered and he was forced to look elsewhere for work.
"I never thought this would happen, to be honest," Thomson said. "There was a lot of talk of me fighting (Rafael) dos Anjos. When I called and said I would really like to fight in Sacramento (at UFC on FOX 9), there was talk of, 'We'll see what's going on with dos Anjos. We'll call you back.' And that call back was, 'Hey, do you want to fight Pettis?'
"You can't say no to that."
And, of course, he didn't. But now that people know his answer, his phone won't stop buzzing.
"It hasn't sunk in," Thomson said. "I have to do a lot. This isn't going to be a rollover fight. I need to take that title from a very game and a very good Anthony Pettis."
You won't get a very specific answer from Thomson about his hastily assembled plan to take the belt from the newly crowned champion, who put his versatility on display when he submitted Henderson with a first-round armbar at this past month's UFC 164 event. At the same time, "The Punk" said he isn't doing anything much different from previous tough challenges.
So in that way, his title fight is nothing special.
"My solution has been the same for every opponent," Thomson said. "I've got to work him on the feet. I've got to be in and out of the pocket, take him down, out-grapple him, touch him with my hands, and touch him with my feet. I've got to mix it up and keep him guessing at all times. It's been that way my whole career. I can't just fixate on one thing.
"You get fixated on one thing with him, he's going to beat you. [Pettis] is going to stay calm and relaxed like he did with Benson, never wilting under the pressure, and I've got to stay the same. Just use my experience to my advantage, and take the fight to him."
Thomson takes this, 2nd rnd tko.
I said it.
Dana White to T.J. Grant: 'Heal up and relax, the lightweight title isn't going anywhere'
osh Thomson understands Anthony Pettis fight could be last chance at gold