Former Strikeforce lightweight champion Josh Thomson isn’t the first fighter you’d imagine would be contemplating retirement at this moment in time. After all he’s still only 32, has lost only one fight in four years and is coming off a significant win over JZ Cavalcante last month that puts him back in the running for a title shot.
Nevertheless, in a new interview with the Las Vegas Sun Thomson doesn’t disguise the fact that the thought of hanging up his gloves has crossed his mind.
“I’m on that borderline where I’m ready to make another chapter in my life,” Thomson said. “I feel like I’ve done everything I possibly could. I’ve been fighting for a long time now. I’m going to make this last run at the title and see what happens.”
Thomson has indeed been fighting for a long time, nine years to be exact in which he’s compiled an 18-3 (1nc) record fighting largely in Strikeforce, along with brief stints in the UFC (2-1) and Pride (1-0).
In recent years he’s battled through a series of injuries, breaking his ankle, hands, ribs, fingers and suffering recurring shoulder problems. Often times he’s stepped back into the cage before he was fully healed and perhaps now the cumulative effect of all that is beginning to take it’s toll on his mind as much as his body.
“I’m at that age where I’m ready to have kids and open my own gym. I want to do my own thing. I’m ready to settle down,” he admits.
If he does follow through with this I suspect there will be a feeling that Thomson never fully lived up to his potential. Despite his lengthy career and the fact that he’s often floated in and around the top 20 lightweight rankings he doesn’t hold a raft of big name wins.
His title winning performance against Gilbert Melendez could well be his finest hour, with wins over Rob McCollough in 2002, Hermes Franca in ’04 and Duane ‘Bang’ Ludwig in ’06 being solid rather than stellar achievements. Meanwhile losses to Yves Edwards in ’04, Clay Guida in 06 and Melendez earlier this year leave some question marks over his legacy.
The trouble is that most of the world’s finest lightweight now fight in the UFC, particularly after the forthcoming merger with the WEC. Ideally Thomson would look to make his way back their and really put himself to the test against the world’s best to find how where he stands, but it seems he might already be burning his bridges on such on move.
“They made it sound so great that a company went under,” Thomson says of the UFC – WEC merger. “The simple fact of the matter was that the WEC failed and they put it with the UFC to carry it.”
Not exactly the kind of talk that’s going to curry favor with Dana White and Co at Zuffa HQ.
That leaves his options a little thin on the ground. A fight with top 10 lightweight Tatsuya Kawajiri in DREAM perhaps? A third fight with Melendez? Beyond that it’s hard to say, and perhaps that’s another reason why Thomson desire to continue fighting is dwindling.