Lightweight Josh Thomson is perhaps best known in MMA for his epic trilogy of tilts with Gilbert Melendez while under the Strikeforce banner. The pair faced off for the divisional title in each of their efforts and spent 75 minutes in the ring together as a result with all of the match-ups going to decision. Melendez ultimately emerged with his hand raised in two of the bouts, though the ruling in their most recent rumble was controversial with many fans feeling as though Thomson deserved the judges’ nod.
While both are now signed to the UFC’s roster it remains to be seen if Thomson and Melendez will ever meet in the Octagon. However, Thomson is set to face Melendez’s friend/training partner Nate Diaz later this month and, surprisingly, he feels the clash could turn out to be more of a challenge than any of his collisions with “El Nino”.
“Stylistically, they’re similar as far as the boxing and stuff, but I think that Gil hits a little bit harder,” said Thomson in an interview with MMAFightCorner. “Nate throws punches and combinations more and I think that Nate’s better on the ground. So, stylistically I think Nate’s a little bit bigger of a threat for me than Gil is.”
“I think it’s a good fight to come into the UFC with,” he continued. I think everyone knows who Nate is given that he just fought Benson Henderson for the title. Everyone knows who I am from Strikeforce because Gil and I have fought three epic battles in Strikeforce and all three times for the title. So everyone knows who I am in Strikeforce and so, I think it’s a perfect match-up. Both of us are coming off of title losses and I think we’re getting ready to work our way back up to a title shot in the UFC.”
Thomson also confirmed he hopes to fight Melendez a fourth time, preferably for the championship, given the number of times he still hears about how he was robbed in their previous pairing. Both men fight on April 20 at UFC on FOX 7 where Melendez will challenge Henderson for the belt.
“The Punk” holds an overall record of 19-5 with nine submissions and four TKOs. In addition to Melendez, he has beaten the likes of Gesias Cavalcante, Duane Ludwig, and Pat Healy. Comparably, Diaz is 16-8 including fourteen finishes.
PHOTO CREDIT – MMAWEEKLY