Josh Thomson is awesome. He is the first man to finish Nate Diaz by strikes. He’s only lost to three human beings in his career. He’s injury free and handsome. What’s next for The Punk?
At 34 years old and being perhaps the most injury-prone fighter in history, Thomson needs a clear road to the top and to big money fights. The poor dude isn’t even in the UFC’s top ten lightweight rankings. He surely has to be in the next round of picks.
Thomson dominated and finished Nate Diaz. He picked him apart in the first round with leg kicks, constant movement and a well-timed bullet of a head kick. If it had hit with the shin, I’m sure Diaz would have hit the deck there and then.
He turned up the pace in the second round, outpointing Nate and scoring with some beautiful short elbows in the clinch. Thomson was landing first over and over again and then WHAMMO. He caught Nate with a right kick that would have dropped a rhino and finished him with some brutal ground-and-pound to get the stoppage.
It was so vicious a flurry that Nick Diaz threw the towel in to save his little brother. Not one person, save for maybe Josh Thomson, called that finish.
Where to now for The Punk. Diaz was ranked fourth in the lightweight rankings as of last night so realistically where can he go?
T.J. Grant (7) and Gray Maynard (3) are tied up to determine the next title contender for champ Benson Henderson. Eventually that’s where Thompson needs to be, in that title eliminator position. It seems unlikely that he’ll ever be healthy enough on a day off to be called in as an injury replacement. Let’s throw out some names.
Joe Lauzon: J-Lau is ranked 10th but is coming off a loss to Jim Miller. It was an awesome fight but one which showed that Lauzon will never be a legitimate contender again. He’s a finisher and can make great fighters look bad with his ground work. In all ways, this would be a poor match for Thomson.
Gilbert Melendez: After his loss last night, it would make some sense to put the two career rivals together. Thomson and Melendez had one of the best trilogies in MMA history in Strikeforce. Melendez took the rubber match by controversial split decision in May last year. It’s almost too good a fight to waste on a three-rounder. So unless they can main event this on a Fox Sports 1 card or whatever, I’m giving this one a miss.
Jim Miller: Now this would be a match made in heaven. Miller has a ridiculous gas tank. He came off his submission loss to Nate Diaz to destroy Joe Lauzon one of the fights of the year.
Assuming he beats Pat Healy next week at UFC 159, this would be quite the match. As a title eliminator it could main event any television card and provide either with serious credibility to challenge Henderson for the 155lb championship.
If anyone has any better ideas, please send them my way in the comments section.