Josh Thomson Officially Announces He’s Retired

Bellator fighter Josh Thomson has officially confirmed that he’s now retired at the age of 41.

Thomson hasn’t fought since a 2017 KO loss to Patricky Freire in the Bellator cage, and the former UFC and Strikeforce fighter has revealed on his podcast that he knew it was time to hang up his gloves when he started taking more shots than he used to.

“I can say that I’m officially retired,” Thomson told John McCarthy on their ‘Weighing In’ podcast. “I can finally say it. And the thing is that you have to say it sometimes just to say what you just said, because I realized I was taking more shots than I should have been taking. And I don’t want to live that lifestyle, I didn’t want to be in there as a punching bag to anybody. I was taking more in training – that’s the thing, people only see the ones you take in the fight. They don’t realize that you’re taking more in training too, because there’s young, talented studs in my gym. And those guys are whooping your ass too; it’s not just the one guy in the cage that you’re fighting. It’s the lead-up to it. It’s all the other shots you take in there.

“That’s the hardest part, and so when you’re telling me all the things that [Donald Cerrone] went through, that’s exactly what happened, and I could see myself getting hit more often than I wanted to.”

During his long career, the former Strikeforce champion had a memorable trilogy with Gilbert Melendez and the fighter admits that watching his old rival’s decline in recent years only further emphasized the fact that he wasn’t able to perform as well as he used to either.

“[Melendez has] taken more damage in probably the last three or four than he took in almost his whole career. And I looked at myself too, and I felt like I hadn’t taken a whole lot of damage up until the Tony Ferguson fight. I took that fight, (and I) took a ton of damage in that fight. Then I went to Bellator, one fight, really no damage, second fight, really no damage, but I could also feel the difference of when I got hit and how I felt when I got hit, versus just walking through it.

“Once you know, I could come to grips with that, every day I would tell myself, ‘Dude, you’re getting hit and you feel these shots now.’ I never used to feel them. Now when you feel them you’re like, this isn’t the same, this is not what I fell in love with. This feeling of training and getting hit, it’s not the same any more.”

Thomson also referenced Donald Cerrone as another fighter who he feels is experiencing a similar situation, and as for ‘The Punk himself, he’s made it clear he’s not expecting to have a chance of heart on his decision to hang up his gloves.

“I’ve really made the decision,” Thomson told MMA Fighting. “I walk past the cage now, and I hear their bodies getting hit, I hear their head getting hit, I hear the clash of their bodies together, the slams – it doesn’t do anything for me. I don’t have the desire anymore to do it. I was motivated for this one fight to come about, and when it didn’t come about and time’s ticking, time’s not on my side, then I’m not really willing to continue to wait, and the longer I wait, the harder it is for me, and the less it benefits me to jump back in.

“So I have no desire. The other thing is that I’m really good friends with Coker outside of the business, and we’ve had several conversations about what’s best for myself and what’s best for Bellator, and how I can better help Bellator in any capacity possible. We’ve come to agree on a lot of things on how I’ll be used and how I can help better the organization. And I would rather do that than come back for one money-grab fight. It just doesn’t make any sense.”

Ross launched MMA Insight (previously in 2009 as a way to channel his passion for the sport of mixed martial arts. He's since penned countless news stories and live fight reports along with dozens of feature articles as the lead writer for the site, reaching millions of fans in the process.