Josh Thomson was that close to getting his first UFC title shot against lightweight champion Anthony Pettis until a knee injury derailed that opportunity. Now, Thomson will get the chance to reaffirm he’s deserving of a fight against “Showtime” if he’s able to get past former champion Benson Henderson. It shapes up as an extremely important fight in the 155-pound weight class and promises to be a terrific main event for this weekend’s UFC on FOX 10.
The results for both fighters in their last Octagon battles were as opposite as you could get. Thomson turned in a blistering performance at UFC on FOX 7, becoming the first man ever to stop Nate Diaz via strikes. “The Punk” impressed in a major way by finishing the tough Stockton native in the second round after landing a devastating head kick and follow-up punches.
Thomson is no stranger to five-round main events, as the former Strikeforce champion was involved in a trilogy of memorable title tilts against Gilbert Melendez. Thomson possesses tremendous talent and will have to deliver another career-defining performance to stave off a hungry and highly motivated former champion.
Henderson is determined to get back his belt back, and the mission begins in Chicago. “Smooth” saw his title reign come to an end at UFC 164 in Milwaukee when he was submitted by Pettis in the very first round. Henderson is 0-2 against “Showtime” in his career and knows it’ll likely take multiple victories to earn another title chance down the road.
Henderson is a solid 7-1 in the UFC, having beaten the likes of Jim Miller, Clay Guida, Frankie Edgar, Diaz and Melendez. This will mark his sixth straight five-round main event. He made three successful title defenses after winning the title from Edgar at UFC 144. Henderson possesses solid leg kicks, strength and athleticism, and has never had any difficulty in going the 25-minute distance.
With plenty at stake and the pedigrees of both fighters, this matchup has the potential to be a tremendously exciting fight. Thomson is looking to state his case that he should be the man to face Pettis when the champ returns. Henderson knows that if he’s intent on getting the gold back, he can’t afford a second straight setback. It has the makings of a five-round war of attrition, something both men have shown the ability to handle.
Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports