HARDEST THING FOR AN EX-CHAMP, THE WAITING

 

HARDEST THING FOR AN EX-CHAMP, THE WAITING

–Kenny Rice
From the euphoric state of lifting the championship belt high above the head for all to see that the hard work has been rewarded, to the lonely limbo of hoping to get another chance at that moment, welcome to the world of the ex-champion.
Josh Thomson has been feeling that since losing the Strikeforce Lightweight title to Gilbert Melendez by unanimous decision in December 2009. He came back with wins over Pat Healey and Gesias Cavalcante before dropping a unanimous decision to Tatsuya Kawajiri at Dream Dynamite 2010.
But what’s next? When does or when will he get another shot at the crown? He will watch K. J. Noons tangle with Jorge Masvidal and might fight the winner. Having already beaten Cavalcante there’s no need for an immediate rematch. And with the UFC taking over Strikeforce, the likely hood of either Frankie Edgar, the current UFC champ, or Gray Maynard who awaits a much deserved rematch with Edgar after their draw, getting a showdown with Melendez long before Thomson.
“There is the possibility of K.J.-Masvidal, that seems the most likely for me,” Thomson said in the Los Angeles studio before a taping of Inside MMA. “Maybe that would set up one of our best (from Strikeforce) taking on one of their best (from UFC) and the winner then would get to fight Gilbert. I don’t know, that would be a nice setup for me. You just have to train and wait and hope something like that could fall into place down the road.”
To get to that place Thomson might have to fight friend and training partner Justin Wilcox along the way, that is a proposal he is considering and without any reservations. “You can’t sit on the sidelines and hope and wonder. I can’t say ‘Yeah I’ll fight only this guy or No, I won’t fight this guy,’ and expect to move into a position for another title chance. Look at Chuck (Liddell) he did that with Tito (Ortiz) for such a long time. Sometimes you have to fight a friend, they have to fight you. Because you both know you want to get that move up the ladder in the rankings. Neither Justin or I have any doubts about that.”
First things first for Thomson, getting to go full bore into training after having the cast removed from his left hand to repair a break and ligament damage that he first suffered in the Calvacante fight and re injured against Kawajiri. “It’s never easy having to wait period when you’re a fighter. And tougher to wait through any injury to get back into full swing in the gym. But I’m ready.”
The 32 year old San Jose native understands how much deeper in talent the lightweight division has gotten since the merger, but as a former champion he has no doubt about ability, no qualms with taking on a challenger from the other organization. It’s no guarantee either way as far as he’s concerned.
“If you’re a fighter it doesn’t mean anything (the merger). What it does mean is you now have a marketing powerhouse behind you that you didn’t before. Strikeforce had only so much money and so much capability of promoting its fighters, obviously the UFC offers a lot more. But they basically are going to redo what they have always done with Strikeforce coming aboard. All I can be concerned with is getting quality opponents that put me back in the position I want to be.”
And the sooner the better for an ex-champion who feels he will make the most of another opportunity to hoist the belt over his head at least one more time.

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