by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com
After winning in impressive fashion at the Strikeforce show at the Playboy Mansion last Saturday night, Josh “The Punk” Thomson is back in the race for a lightweight title. A showdown with current champion Gilbert Melendez seems to be the fight everyone is waiting to see.
Thomson and Melendez have actually been training partners in the past; working out at the American Kickboxing Academy in San Jose, Calif. So Thomson wants to be sure everything is in place before the two friends step into the cage together to fight for the title.
“Gil’s got some things he needs to get worked out. He’s been inactive and I do know that he’s got one or two more fights left on his contract,” said Thomson.
“It’s not really fair to Gil to be fighting me for less than what the fight’s worth. He knows I’m a top lightweight, he knows I’m coming for my title and he knows he doesn’t want to give up his.”
A fight between the two top lightweights could definitely headline any card in any promotion.
“I don’t think there’s a fight out there right now that will match the intensity and the level, especially a five-round fight, that he and I can deliver.”
While fans are clamoring for a bout between the two, reports after last weekend’s show said that Melendez re-injured the hand that kept him out of action for several months following his monumental win over Tatsuya Kawajiri late in 2006.
“I think his hand’s going to need some healing and it’s going to be a little while before he gets back in the ring again,” Thomson said of the injury. “So, I think I’m going to take a couple more fights before I fight him. I do know that we will fight, that fight will happen.”
If Thomson plans on taking more fights before a title bout with Melendez, the list of potential opponents is ever growing along with Strikeforce’s continued growth and recent partnership with Bodog Fight.
Thomson is actually hopeful to compete a couple more times before 2007 ends.
“I’m planning on hopefully getting in two more fights this year,” said Thomson. “I’m hoping to get one in November and then if things work out, potentially with Bodog, maybe one in December with them.”
One opponent that has been mentioned is Bodog Fight star and American Top Team member Jorge Masvidal, who defeated Matt Lee at the Playboy Mansion and also has a recent win over perennial top lightweight Yves Edwards.
“We had the potential to possibly fight him (Jorge Masvidal) on this card,” said Thomson. “Bodog I think wasn’t really interested in it at this moment because of his win over Yves (Edwards) and I think they kind of want to see how he does against some other guys. I’m not opposed to fighting anybody right now.”
Thomson will now await the powers that be at Strikeforce to line up another opponent. According to the former Ultimate Fighting Championship fighter, money is not a concern these days for him to fight anybody.
“I’m making more than the UFC champ, so why would I complain about fighting somebody else,” Thomson commented with a laugh.
Strikeforce currently has plans for a Nov. 16 show at the HP Pavilion in San Jose with the possibility of another event in December.