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Josh Thomson: “He’s got the fighter spirit in him and he will never give up. He will fight to the end.”

Former Strikeforce lightweight champ Josh Thomson has never been afraid to dive into a challenge head-first. The outspoken Californian has battled back from numerous injuries, faced all-comers, and always shown a willingness to engage his opponent over nearly a decade-long career. Based on that self-belief and ability to shrug off adversity, there’s little doubt as to why he stepped up to welcome highly-touted lightweight Gesias “JZ” Cavalcante to Strikeforce’s 155-pound division this October rather than take an easier route to title contention.

Thomson, who celebrates his 32nd birthday next Tuesday, recently spoke to media about his upcoming bout against the talented Brazilian, mentioning among other things his respect for the American Top Team product’s abilities, why he found the match-up appealing, and how he envisions the fight unfolding.

“I am excited for (the bout),” stated Thomson. “It’s been a rough camp…obviously when you are training hard for someone at JZ’s caliber you want to make sure that training goes perfect and I’ve been trying to make it as perfect as possible. I have bumps and bruises, everything that every fighter goes through, but so far it’s been a good camp.”

“I have had a lot of good guys to train with and I don’t think the media will get the grasp of the situation until JZ gets into the ring…it’s nice to have him come over from Japan and fight here stateside,” he continued while referencing the fact Cavalcante hasn’t competed outside of Japan since 2007.

When asked for more information on exactly how he was preparing for Cavalcante, “The Punk” replied, “I brought in a couple of other trainers, who have helped out a lot, so I have been working on my hands and I’m also working with a couple of some side guys on my kick boxing as well. I’ve been putting it all together and I have been working a lot on my wrestling as well. It is going to be interesting to see how the fight pans out.”

“Everyone I have talked to about him said that he is far and away the best that they have there down at the gym and I know I have my hands full,” he elaborated. “You can’t come to a fight like this with a chip on your shoulder and be arrogant about it. You have to go out there and be ready for everything that is going to happen. If I go out there and think that he can’t hurt me I am going to lose this fight. If he goes out there and rocks me in the first round your whole game plans goes out the door, and your mentality and everything gets ruined.”

As far as his assessment on what he sees taking place once the cage-door closes, Thomson responded, “I don’t think either one of us have an advantage. He is a little shorter than me. We have completely different styles, so it’s hard to say who has the advantage. We are both really well-rounded…he has great stand-up. Everyone wants to talk about mine but I hate to say it but he’s got phenomenal (striking). He’s a great fighter. He’s got the fighter spirit in him and he will never give up. He will fight to the end. I think this will be a knockdown fight. I see this being a knockdown, drag out fight.”

“(So) I can’t say that anyone really has the advantage,” he reiterated. “I fight a little bit faster. He’s probably a little bit stronger. He probably has a little more power. Obviously I am going to try to beat him to the punch. Wrestling wise he is a little shorter so he will probably be a little harder to take down, those type of things play a big factor. I need to go out there and implement my game plan and get in his face and let him know that it’s going to be a fight for three rounds.”

The 17-3 fighter also made it clear he wasn’t looking too far ahead, at least in regards to a rubber-match against current Strikeforce lightweight champ Gilbert Melendez, saying, “I think they are all must wins, everyone talking about the third fight. The last fight I was thinking about the third fight but the biggest problem was I think that there were a lot of things going through my mind which showed in my performance. It was a really lackluster performance, nothing was put together right. I broke two ribs in the first round and everything went down hill.”

Thomson continued, “So this fight what I did was I wiped my mind clean of the title fight. Everyone is talking to me about the Gilbert fight, and I was letting that get ahead of my actually training. You hear athletes say all the time I’ve got to take care of this one match first, and if this doesn’t happen there won’t be a third fight with Gilbert, and I let that hinder what I was doing last time. I definitely won’t be thinking about the third fight. I will be thinking about what is in front of me.”

In addition to the scrap between Thomson and Cavalcante for top 155-pound contendership, Strikeforce’s October 9th event is headlined by Nick Diaz defending his welterweight strap against rival KJ Noons, female champion Sarah Kaufman putting her title on the line against Marloes Coenen, and rising star Luke Rockhold facing typically-tough grappler Matt “The Law” Lindland.

6 COMMENTS
  • Rece Rock says:

    Diaz / Noons should be awesome… Diaz will be a bitch and take it to the ground. Yes I know that doesn’t make him a bitch but since I hate his persona it makes him a bitch.

  • Rich S. says:

    I can assure you Diaz will only “take it to the ground” if he’s knocked on his ass. By now, his Jiu Jitsu is practically a small means of backup for his striking. He will probably disorient Noons on the feet, while taking a few bombs on the chin of course, and eventually make Noons crumble late from exhaustion and frustration.

  • JabCrossHook says:

    If KJ keeps his hands high, slips in and counters with a hard punch he can win with a finish. If Diaz maintains his range and keeps KJ at bay then Rich S said the best. It will probably be a TKO due to exhaustion or submission after KJ is tired of getting his face punched. KJ winning on the striking is possible if he trains his boxing with a good coach and has a good strength and conditioning coach that would make him do a lot of explosive exercises. If KJ comes into the fight well trained, conditioned, and with the right game plan in the striking department he can win. However his explosiveness and timing has to be impeccable. The dude hits people like a tank, but Nick Diaz’s boxing is probably one of the best in MMA behind Vitor and JDS. Its an uphill battle for KJ but victory is far from impossible.

  • Dufresne says:

    I’m personally pulling for Diaz because I actually like his persona. He’s a throwback to the beginning of MMA in that if he didn’t paid for fighting, he’d probably still be fighting just for fun. The main difference between him and the guys of old is his skill set. The boy is good.
    I think KJ has better standup overall, but I’m hoping that Diaz will frustrate him with his punches-in-bunches to the point that Noons makes a mistake and Diaz walks home with a brand new arm to add to his collection.

    Pretty excited to see Lindland get back in there. I’ve always loved the guy, and hopefully he’ll get his second straight W here.

  • MMA-LOGIC says:

    I don’t think Diaz’s striking is good enough to out point or frustrate Noons at all. Diaz’s ground game is far superior though. If it stays on the feet I have Noons winning. Diaz should take him down. This is MMA not boxing or a pissing contest.

  • MMA-LOGIC says:

    Sorry forgot to mention that I am so pleased that JZ is gonna mix it with the SF dudes. I have always liked his style and aggression. Thomson, Melendez, Aoki, JZ, Noons and company are gonna have some great fights in the months to come. SF is looking better by the day, I hope the production values and commentary team follow suit.

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