Strikeforce Lightweight Champion Josh "The Punk" Thomson (16-2) now has an opponent to defend his title against for the first time at "Destruction" on November 21 at the HP Pavillion in San Jose, California.
We've known for sometime that he would be headlining the event with his first title defense, but it wasn't until today that the promotion announced MMA journeyman Yves Edwards (34-14-1) as the challenger.
This will be Yves' second title fight in a row. In June he challenged then Elite XC 160-pound champion KJ Noons for his title at Elite XC: "Return of the King" in Hawaii. Many MMA enthusiasts picked Edwards to take the younger more inexperienced Noons' belt that night, but Noons scored a surprisingly early first round technical knockout stoppage.
The loss was the first for Yves since switching over to American Top Team in South Florida for his training a little less than a year prior. Despite the loss in June, his once very promising career seems to be rejuvenated and back on track.
At one point on the Yves Edwards timeline, he was considered one of the best lightweights in the world. He's competed 10 times in the UFC and three times under the Pride FC banner. He's gone to war with Hermes Franca (two wins), Joachim Hansen (split decision loss), Tatsuya Kawajiri (decision loss), Matt Serra (decision loss), Caol Uno (decision loss), Aaron Riley (two wins), Nate Marquardt (loss) and many other top class fighters.
Oh yeah, and there was also the time at UFC 49 where he knocked out some kid named Josh Thomson in the first round with a highlight reel kick that is one of the best finishes in the sport ... ever.
That's right, not only is his "The Punk's" first title defense, but it's against a one of only two men to ever put a loss on his record. Here's his thoughts on the rematch:
"I was better than him then and I'm way better than him now. This rematch is about winning back something that I let slip through my fingers last time. It was a fluke, but that's part of the fight game – anyone can get caught. I blame my error last time on my cockiness. This time, I've got to stamp my mark on it."
Thomson is obviously an extremely confident fighter these days, and not too many wouldn't be coming off eight straight wins that include names like Gilbert Melendez, Duane Ludwig and Nam Phan.
This should be a great fight between two very experienced fighters who know plenty about each other. Strikeforce is putting together a hell of a card for November 21 in San Jose.
The two other matches confirmed at this time for "Destruction" are Light Heavyweight Champion Bobby Southworth defending his belt against Renato "Babalu" Sobral and Joe "Diesel" Riggs clashing with jiu-jitsu black belt Luke Stewart at 170 pounds.