Former Strikeforce lightweight titleholder Josh Thomson knew he’d be fighting Gesias “J.Z.“ Cavalcante when the American Top Team trained athlete was signed by the organization.
“That was pretty much the only fight I could really see them matching me with,” Thomson told MMAWeekly.com about the Cavalcante bout. “I’ve asked for the best fighters in the world and Scott Coker went out and signed one of the best fighters in the world and this is who I’m fighting.”
Thomson has had nothing put praises to say about his opponent leading up to the bout. He believes Cavalcante should be ranked in the top ten and criticized the media for not having him in their rankings.
“I think it’s a joke that you guys have guys like Ben Henderson ranked above guys like J.Z. You guys have to be freakin kidding me,” said Thomson at the pre-fight press conference on Thursday.
“He’s a beast. He’s a great fighter. He’s well-rounded. He’s got great ground and pound. He fought (Kobayashi) Masato in K-1. Are you guys kidding me? Really? You guys have a guy named Ben Henderson ranked above this guy. You guys are out of your minds. This guy is a savage. He’s good on the ground. He’s got good submissions. He’s got everything you need.”
Thomson and Cavalcante have been highly ranked in the past, but neither are ranked in most top ten lists at the moment. Thomson attributes the absence from the rankings to injuries and inactivity.
“Here’s the deal, the only reason ‘J.Z.’ is not in the top three or four is because of the inactivity, and it goes the same for me. I was ranked like three or four and so was he, and then we ended up being hurt; both of us did. That’s the only reason we’re out of the top ten to be honest. I lost to Gilbert Melendez but Gilbert is ranked No. 2 now,” stated the 32-year old Strikeforce lightweight contender.
“It’s a crappy situation that we’re in. We both feel like we should probably be ranked in the top ten, but we’re not because of our inactivity. That’s really what it comes down to.”
Thomson knows this is a big fight with a lot of implications in the rankings and the Strikeforce 155-pound division and couldn’t turn down the opportunity when it presented itself.
“I think a loss for one of us here is going to possibly catapult us out of that area (top ten) and further away from a title shot,” said Thomson. “It sucks for both of us because we’re both coming in off of injuries. We would have liked to have built up the fight a little bit more. But you know what? It’s the fight game and when the promotion offers you somebody to fight, especially somebody like him, I couldn’t turn it down.”
Discussing the stylistic match up, Thomson believes it’s all going to come down to which of the two is on top of them game that night.
“We’re completely opposite styles, so it’s going to end up being one of those fights where whoever shows up that night and has a great performance is going to end up being the one to win it,” said Thomson. “I expect another tough fight. We have totally contrasting styles. It’s all going to come down to who enters the ring with the best strategy and to who implements their plan the best.”
Asked in what areas is he better than Cavalcante, Thomson replied, “I’m not worried about where I can beat him. I’ve got to beat him everywhere to win this fight.”
“I’ve got to beat him everywhere. There’s no way I can win this fight just doing one thing.”
Thomson wants to remain active following the Oct. 9 match up with Cavalcante possibly fighting again this year.
“I was hoping to get another fight in before the end of the year to be honest. I want to win this fight. I want to get through this fight and all the injuries, they’re done, and I want to move on to fighting as much as possible.”