While 2008 greeted Josh Thomson with the Strikeforce title and a bright future, 2009 has not been so kind to the top ten ranked lightweight who, for a second time, was forced out of a scheduled rematch against Gilbert Melendez. The question still looms about when he might return.
Thomson spoke to MMAWeekly.com following his removal from the 155-pound title fight coming up on Aug. 15 against Gilbert Melendez and was obviously disappointed that he wouldn’t be able to compete.
“Could be better, could be healthy, but we’re working on it,” Thomson said about his current mood. “Trying to get back healthy that’s all.”
Rumors surfaced a few weeks ago that he could be suffering from a lingering injury, and just days later the California based fighter was scratched from the card that was supposed to bring him his first official title defense as champion.
“I kind of put my foot in my mouth a little bit, the way the media portrays kind of the negativeness of what people say versus having headlines that are basically positive about the fighter and what’s coming up for them. The media only tends to focus on the negative things that were possibly said,” Thomson commented.
“The commission got from the headlines on a website that I wasn’t 100-percent healed and basically they wanted verification that I could fight.”
The injury was actually a separate break on his leg from the broken leg he suffered that kept him out of his last scheduled fight against Gilbert Melendez. According to Thomson it was a second x-ray that was taken just before he was pulled out of the fight when a hairline fracture was discovered which prevented him from gaining medical clearance.
Despite the injury, up until the commission actually forced him off the card, Thomson says he had every intention of fighting.
“I had already been training on it for three weeks. It hurt, and I was trying to work through the pain and stuff, but maybe it’s a blessing in disguise. You never know what would have happened,” Thomson said.
The American Kickboxing Academy lightweight says that things are still up in the air as far as his overall health and when he could make a comeback, but he’ll head back to the doctor soon for another x-ray to help determine that timeline. Either way, Thomson has his sights set on a fight before 2009 is over.
“Really we’re just taking it one day at a time, not pushing it, taking the next three weeks and just staying off of it, not really doing anything to it. I would hope for an October return,” he told MMAWeekly.com. “Given that Affliction went out of business, I think a lot of the Affliction guys are being pushed towards the Strikeforce October show, and that being said I might have to wait till the December show.”
With Thomson sidelined with the injury, Japanese fighter Mitsuhiro Ishida was tapped as a replacement. He will go to battle with Gilbert Melendez on Saturday night for the interim lightweight championship.
While he admits that by the time he comes back it will have been well over 12 months and a warm-up fight would be nice, Thomson understands he’ll likely face the winner of the interim title bout and he’s okay with that scenario as well.
“It’s only fair to those guys that whoever wins that fight really gets a chance to fight me, so I really can’t say it’s whatever Strikeforce wants to do,” Thomson said. “I’m not opposed to fighting them and I’m not opposed to fighting someone else really.”
Josh Thomson will be in attendance on Saturday night to watch first hand as Gilbert Melendez faces Mitsuhiro Ishida for the Strikeforce interim lightweight title.
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