Photo Credit: Kyle Terada – USA TODAY Sports
One of mixed-martial-arts lightweight mainstays has officially hung up his gloves. Josh ‘The Punk’ Thomson has announced his retirement from active competition, with immediate effect.
The 41-year-old is a former Strikeforce lightweight and U.S. lightweight champion – perennial UFC lightweight contender, and one-time Bellator MMA title challenger. Thomson, hailing from San Jose, California – is renowned for his longevity among the upper-echelon of the lightweight division’s in each respective promotion – having last competed in a 2017 lightweight title clash with Brazil’s Patricky ‘Pitbull’ Freire. With a professional record of 22-9-1, Thomson has recently turned his attention to life outside of the cage – and has secured a position in Bellator MMA’s commentary booth, as a color commentator and analyst.
Thomson enjoyed two successful stints in the Octagon, in between his impressive exploits in Scott Coker’s Strikeforce, before once more linking up with the promoter in a 2015 move to Bellator MMA. The talented grappler holds notable victories over Nate Diaz, KJ Noons, Gilbert Melendez, Pat Healy, Duane Ludwig, Nick Gonzalez, and Hermes Franca. Thomson also featured twice under the PRIDE FC banner, lodging two victories over Daisuke Sugie, and Rocky Johnson.
Speaking with former mixed-martial-arts referee, and fellow Bellator MMA commentator, ‘Big’ John McCarthy on the WEIGHING IN podcast, Thomson announced his official retirement from the sport.
“I can say that I am officially retired. I can finally say it,” Thomson said. “And, the thing is you have to say it sometimes just to say what you just said because I realized that I was taking more shots than I should have been taking. And, I don’t want to live that lifestyle, I don’t want to be in there as a punching bag to anybody. I was taking more (shots) in training – that’s the thing, people only see what you take in the fight. They don’t realize that you’re taking more in training too because there’s young, talented studs in my gym (American Kickboxing Academy). And those guys are whooping your ass too; it’s not just the one guy in the cage that you’re fighting – it’s the lead up to it. It’s all the other shots you take in there.”
Thomson continued and pointed to former Strikeforce best, Gilbert Melendez, last couple of fights and his fight against Tony Ferguson, where he suffered multiple cuts on his face due to slashing elbows strikes from the upcoming lightweight title challenger.
“(Melendez has) taken more damage in probably the last three or four (fights) than he took in almost his whole career. And, I looked at myself too, and I felt like I hadn’t taken a whole lot of damage up until the Tony Ferguson fight. I took that fight, took a ton of damage in that fight. Then I went to Bellator, one fight (against Mike Bronzoulis) really no damage, second fight (against Pablo Villaseca), really no damage, but, I could also feel the difference of when I got hit and how I felt when I got hit, versus just walking through it.”
Thomson began his professional career all the way back in 2001 – at the inaugural Bushido event, and established an eight-fight win streak on his way to the Strikeforce lightweight and U.S. lightweight title after a debut defeat to then-champion, Clay Guida.
Senior writer for FightBook MMA. An aspiring mixed martial arts reporter based in Ireland. Producer of news articles, interviews, opinion features, and exclusive features such as, ‘The Fallout’, ‘The Breakdown, and, ‘This Week In MMA’.
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