A couple of weeks ago, few people, if anyone, were citing Josh Thomson as the man who newly crowned lightweight champ Anthony Pettis would fight next. After tapping out Benson Henderson at UFC 164, Pettis called for a fight with Jose Aldo, before the UFC announced that TJ Grant would challenge “Showtime” next. Then, Grant announced he was not ready to fight Pettis at UFC on FOX 9 as hoped, due to complications from his concussion, and Thomson was assigned the fight.
In a recent interview with MMA Junkie.com, Thomson relayed he was just as surprised as everyone else about the dramatic turn of events.
“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 have to admit, while Pettis-Thomson could provide plenty of entertaining action, Thomson-dos Anjos would have been a solid booking too if not for Grant’s situation. And what does Thomson think are the keys to defeating Pettis? Who is clearly a vicious finisher on his feet and the ground?
“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.”
Sounds like a good approach to take, although implementing your game plan against a world class fighter like Pettis is considerable task for anyone.
UFC on FOX 9 will be hosted by the Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento, California. Stay tuned to MMA Frenzy.com for more on this story and all your UFC news.