by Tom Hamlin – MMAWeekly.com
champion Josh “The Punk” Thomson turned in another impressive performance this
weekend, taking a mere 74 seconds to defeat Lion’s Den fighter Ashe Bowman at
the world famous Playboy Mansion. It was his eighth straight victory in two and
a half years; he took but one serious punch before overwhelming Bowman with
“I just took what he gave me
and tried to exploit him a little bit, it just worked out to my benefit. I
caught him with a good shot right off the bat and it all fell into place,” Thomson told
MMAWeekly.com in a video interview after the fight.
The question now shifts to
who’s next in line for Thomson. A Top 10 lightweight, Thomson recently stated that
he only wanted to face names and solid contenders for his belt. Mitsuhiro
Ishida, who also decimated his opponent on Saturday, would appear to be the
next logical opponent. But Thomson isn’t so sure at this point.
“It looks like (Ishida) is,
but really, it all depends on what we can work out with Strikeforce,” he said.
“There’re other guys that have beat Ishida. I’m not trying to duck Ishida, I’m
just looking at there are other guys that I would love to fight. Of course,
Hansen is at the top of my list. Guys like Eddie Alvarez, and Uno. Uno’s
another guy – Uno beat Ishida – why would I fight Ishida when I can
“Uno has a better name in the
states versus Ishida. You know that fight’s going to be here in the states,
(and) I take what fights benefit me in the states.”
Strikeforce executive Mike
Afromowitz echoes it’s too early to narrow down the champ’s next challenger.
“We’ve got to go back to the
drawing board,” he said. “After (Josh) beat Gilbert, he said he wanted to fight
the best guys out there. We’re going to do whatever it takes to get him those
opponents, whatever is in our means. Josh is Top 10 now, so if he’s going to
defend his title, it’s got to be against a worthy opponent.”
Gilbert Melendez is also
hoping for a rematch, but will likely have to wait until well into 2009 to get
the chance to take back the lightweight belt.
Unmarked from Saturday night,
Thomson will stay in the gym for a possible return in November. If Uno or
Ishida are first to challenge him, he’ll be ready.
“I went to Japan, I fought on
their ground. I beat them there, I came back here,” he said. “This is my
hometown. This is my area. This is me. They want to come here, this is my
title, they’ve got to come here and try to fight me for it.”