Josh Thomson had his dream to vie for his first-ever Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) title dashed when division kingpin Anthony Pettis was forced out of their UFC on Fox 9 bout because of a torn PCL.
"The Punk," however, didn't have trouble finding another high-caliber opponent in such a shark-infested division, facing former 155-pound champion Ben Henderson instead at UFC on Fox 10 on Jan. 25, 2014.
And according to Thomson, "Smooth" is actually a bigger threat to him than Pettis.
He explained (via Bloody Elbow):
"In our gym, we kind of train the same, five days a week. The only thing I'd kind of change is I'll focus more on the things I want to do when I spar. When I'm sparring, I'm focusing on the things I need to do to win that fight. Not much really changes from the Pettis to the Henderson fight. For me personally, stylistically, Benson is more of a threat than Pettis was. Not to mention that this is the opportunity to fight someone that has been the champ for the last couple years. For me, I think Benson has the bigger name. Not to take anything away from Pettis, but Henderson has been more active over the last two years, so there was no way I could pass on this opportunity. Benson is so well rounded. Honestly, it's like I'm looking at myself in a mirror, fight-wise, just with a left handed person. He offers everything from the grappling to the wrestling, the clinch work, the takedowns; it's gonna be a tough fight. At any moment, the pace of the fight can change and go anywhere. With Pettis, you know he's going to pretty much try to keep it on the feet the whole time. He's not going to try and mix it up. Gil is sort of the same way. They're kind of set in their ways on how they train and the focus on the things that they do. That's worked for a lot of guys in their careers. Look at Randy Couture; he made a living off that, just punching in the clinch, pressing them up against the fence and taking them down."
While the debate as to who a bigger threat is, Henderson or Pettis, can go one for days, eventually Thomson will meet both of them inside the Octagon if he can topple "Smooth" in "Windy City." And he'll be able to find out firsthand if his initial hypothesis is indeed true.
For now, "The Punk" will try to hold on to his title shot by handing Henderson his second consecutive loss when they collide in Chicago.
How about it Maniacs, do you agree with Thomson's statement? Is Henderson a much bigger stylistic threat to him than "Showtime?"