– PUNK OUT, LUDWIG IN VS EDWARDS AT STRIKEFORCE

by Ken Pishna – MMAWeekly.com
Current Strikeforce lightweight champion Josh “The Punk” Thomson is out of his scheduled title defense against Yves Edwards at the promotion’s Nov. 21 event in San Jose, Calif. With less than two weeks until fight night, Denver’s Duane Ludwig has agreed to step in and take the bout in Thomson’s place.

Thomson suffered torn ligaments in his toe during training, according to a report by Sports Illustrated reporter Josh Gross. Strikeforce promoter Scott Coker confirmed to SI the news of the injury to Thomson and Ludwig’s likelihood to replace him.

Ludwig on Monday afternoon told MMAWeekly.com, “Coker called me about 10 minutes ago and asked if I wanted to take the fight and I said, ‘Sure.’ We’ve got to determine a weight to fight at because there’s no way I can make 155 (pounds) on such short notice, but I’m excited to get another fight in before the end of the year.”

It doesn’t give Ludwig much time to prepare for Edwards, who has been prepping for Thomson for several weeks, but he says he will be ready.

“I’m the king of short notice fights,” quipped Ludwig, who has stepped in with little notice to face fighters such as B.J. Penn and Takanori Gomi in the past. “I’ve been helping Leonard Garcia and some of the other guys prepare for fights, but I haven’t been training at the level I need to be ready for a guy like Yves. I have a good solid week to prepare though, so I’ll be ready.”

The fight will likely take place somewhere between 160 and 165 pounds, as Ludwig doesn’t have the time to properly cut down to 155 and has been preparing for a move up to the 170-pound class for the near future.

“I don’t want to make 55 anymore,” Ludwig told MMAWeekly.com. “My plans are to start fighting at 170 from now on.”

With plans to fight in the welterweight class, win or lose against Edwards, Ludwig isn’t concerned about getting a rematch against Thomson, who won their first bout via submission.

There are rumors that Strikeforce would like to pair Ludwig up with Phil Baroni in February of next year in a welterweight clash. Ludwig has heard the rumors as well, but he says that there haven’t been any discussions of the bout at this point.