by Luis Cruz – MMAWeekly.com
He’s one of the most exciting fighters in one of MMA’s most
stacked divisions. As he prepares to go to war with one of his closest friends
for the Strikeforce lightweight title this Friday night in San Jose, Calif.,
Josh Thomson took some time in between his training sessions to talk to us at MMAWeekly.com and fill us in on how his training
has been and his thoughts on fighting a good friend.
Time Q & A
– Josh, thanks for
taking some time out in between training to talk to us. Everyone always says
they’re ready to go, 100 percent for the fight. Then after the fight there’s an
injury that happened two or three weeks prior to the fight. So with that said,
how is everything going for you, your training; are you healthy?
JT – Well I’ve never been one to lie;
that’s why people call me “The Punk”, because they don’t like to hear the
truth. (Laughs) Let me explain to you, anyone who says they’re going into a
fight 100 percent obviously didn’t train hard enough, then they’ll make excuses
later about it so whatever.
You know I
had shoulder surgery so I’m not 100 percent; I’d be lying if I said I was.
Right after my surgery I jumped into training as hard as I could, trying to
play catch up so I got a bunch of injuries, but nothing is going to keep me
from fighting. I just want to get this fight over with, get it done.
of like the Duane Ludwig fight where my father past away two weeks before. I
jumped back into training the week before the fight, it was just like whatever,
get the fight over with, get it done, get it out of the way, and move on with
life so me and Gilbert can get back to training together again and keep making
each other better.
the Adam Lynn fight my grandmother past away. That’s kind of what the situation
is right now with this. I just had my other grandmother pass away last night.
All this stuff adds up before a fight and I’ve just had misfortunes with family
know, one fight isn’t going to change anything, so I’m just going to go in
there and fight. I’m injured a little bit here and there, certain things hurt,
but whatever dude just go and get the fight over with. I’m not doing anything
that’s going to keep me from fighting.
– We’d like to send
our condolences for your recent losses.
JT – No worries. It’s a part of life.
They live a good life, there’s nothing you can do. You love them, you miss
them, and that’s all you can do really.
– Yes I know. I’ve
been through it far too many times. It’s tough. Now this is obviously a big
fight for you and there doesn’t seem to be anything that’s going to stop you
from fighting in this. You have a deep resume, so where does this fight rank on
JT – Well we got put on blast basically from
the promotion. The iron was hot right now from the Cung (Le) and (Frank)
Shamrock fight, so they decided it was their best time to put this fight
together. It was either me and Gilbert or basically there was gonna be no fight
in San Jose. But we need the money, we need the fight, and we need to make sure
San Jose stays around on the map. If people forget about an area and the
fighters that come from that area because of the lack of fights then that’s not
our fault. So we decided to step up, fight each other, get it done, and move on
to the next chapter of our lives.
– Okay, now real
quick for the people not familiar with your guys’ relationship can you tell us
real quick the history between you guys? How long have you known each other?
JT – I’ve known (Gilbert) for four or
five years now, but we really didn’t become friends until about two years ago.
Right before the Clay Guida fight. He was coming in to train with me like once
every two weeks, which I could’ve used him a lot more for that training camp.
But then after I fought Clay, him and Jake (Shields) started coming to
(American Kickboxing Academy) like three times a week because he wanted my
input or whatever you want to call it, to help him train for the Clay fight. I
told him I’d love him here, all he does is make me better and if I can help in
any way to help you then hey that’s great.
the time was the phenom, a freak you know, and he is so unbelievably talented.
So that was just something that was nice for me to have him in the gym. It’s
been over two years since I fought Clay, so ever since then I’ve seen him like
two or three times a week.
fights he disappears a little bit like I do. That’s just kind of how it’s been
man. Then we became friends outside the gym seeing each other at clubs,
autograph signings, local fights, and things like that and we started hanging
out and partying. I became good friends with Jake also. But I became good
friends with Gilbert and his girlfriend at the time; she was a fighter. We just
kind of started running with the same crew.
– Now with all that
said, how hard is it for you to fight a friend? A lot of fighters say it’s just
business, your career for those fifteen or so minutes, but in all honesty it’s
not like football or basketball against a friend; you’re actually trying to
physically hurt them.
JT – What’s the difference from that and
when he comes to the gym and we spar? Because we go hard. Now we’re just
getting paid to do what we do three times a week. I mean it’s not really that
different. When we’re in there sparring, I’m not looking to put him away or
anything, but you’re looking to do some damage. I’m looking to hit him with
some good shots, get the takedown and looking to get a little ground and pound.
You’re looking to get the submission; those are the things you’re looking for.
I’m looking to fight him, not go in there and try and break his arm. I’m just
looking to make him tap.
great fighter and this is my time to show that I’m a better fighter and
hopefully that comes. It’s whoever implements their game plan the best. I tell
it to everybody, one day Gilbert will come in and I’m the better fighter, one
day he’s the better fighter. It’s whoever has the better night that night, that’s
what it’s going to come down to.
– Do you think you
might hold back a little bit? You said you’d go for the submission, but you
wouldn’t try to break his arm. Would you have that much concern if it was
someone you didn’t particularly care about?
JT – (Laughs) Nah man, you know, it’s
like all fighters go in there and nobody is really looking to hurt anyone. Yeah
you get an arm and you’re trying to extend it, but once it’s locked in and he’s
not going anywhere you’re not looking to break it. I mean that’s just me,
people call me a punk, but I don’t have those punk tendencies.
– What have you
done differently this time around, if anything, to prepare for this fight? Have
you brought anyone into your camp that normally isn’t there or done anything
out of the ordinary?
JT – I had some guys that were supposed
to come out, but ended up getting sick, one ended up with his wife getting
pregnant, so you know you have to stay home. Happy wife is a happy home. But
Rob McCullough came out and I went out there a little bit to work with some of
his wrestlers down there. I was able to train with some wrestlers like Trevor
Prangley and some of the smaller guys they have up in Idaho, so I just made
sure to surround myself with some good guys.
– Where do you feel
that he has advantages over you and where do you feel you’re stronger?
JT – Honestly I think I’m a better
technician from the ground to the feet. I mean technically, but you take
anybody and add that power in that right hand and he’s got that and he knows it
and throws it. He’s also got a great chin and I got a great chin as well. He
uses that great chin a little more than I do. (Laughs) But he’s got that big
right hand and that’s something you always have to be weary of no matter how
much technique you have.
I’m possibly a better wrestler, but I try to focus on being more well rounded,
so my wrestling kind of gets put on the back burner sometimes. I tried to work
on it a little more for this fight. I worked with Koscheck and Fitch and I couldn’t
think of better guys to work with really. It’s benefited me a lot.
my ground game, I’ve been working with Dave Camarillo, so I think submission
wise and grappling wise I probably have a better advantage in that aspect, but
his wrestling may prove to be a little better than mine in this fight.
him to throw that right hand like crazy; he’s a headhunter with that right
hand. But I think he remembers and knows that I have more weapons than a right
– You see this fight
going to a decision?
JT – You know, I hate to say yes, but
unless someone gets clipped with something good I don’t see a knockout.
Catching him in a submission is going to be pretty damn hard and he knows
catching me in one is going to be hard. Especially after the first round when
you get all sweaty. We’re both Mexican so we’re going to have that Mexican
sweat thing going on and it’s just going to be slippery in there. So to be
honest, submissions will probably go out the door after the first round and it’s
going to be a war of attrition and who can land the shot. I can see it going
the full distance, but nothing but fast paced energy and coming down to whoever
has the gas tank in the championship rounds.
– You both have
shown a good gas tank.
JT – That’s what I’m saying, so whoever
– I know you’re
obviously not looking past Gilbert, but let’s say you win and capture the
title. Who do you feel would be next in line for a title shot?
Yeah, I’m not even
looking past Gilbert. To be honest I don’t even know who is really in
contention. There’s been some guys running their mouth and there are guys
capable of fighting us. But between us two we pretty much beat everybody in
these shows you know?
I beat Nam (Phan)
and (Adam) Lynn, he’s beat (Tetsuji) Kato. I can’t really think of any guys
they can bring up. There’s (Jorge) Masvidal
and (Billy) Evangelista, but honestly at the level me and Gilbert are fighting
at right now, I don’t think those guys are ready for us.
I really don’t know who would be next in line to be real
honest with you.
– Alright Josh, before
I let you go, any sponsors or websites you’d like to mention?
JT – Always. Loaded energy drink, Knoxx
Gear, and if
you guys are looking to get tickets for Strikeforce, you can go to KnoxxGear.com and get them or Ticketmaster. Knoxx Gear also has my shirts for sale. Mar Clothing also has a new designer shirt made for me, also Josh
Koscheck, Jon Fitch, and Mike Swick if you’re looking for that. Of course, also
Tapout as well, I love them, go there because they always take
care of me. Gotta thank Mickey’s too. Oh yeah, and of course, AKA and Cung Le’s gym.
– What about your fans,
anything to say to them?
JT – Man, don’t blink, this is going to
be good. That’s all I can say boys! It’s going to be good…..and girls of
course! I know the girls are watching because me and Gilbert are some sexy (expletive)!
contact and talk to Josh over at his myspace account.