Last night (April 20, 2013), former Strikeforce 155-pound champion Josh Thomson returned to Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) for the first time since absorbing a sensational flying head kick courtesy of Yves Edwards back in Aug. 2004.
"The Punk" had to wait more than eight long years to erase that mixed martial arts (MMA) memory even though the footage is still embedded in the promotion's highlight-reel package. And he had to do it at UFC on Fox 7, which took place at HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif., a nationally-televised event against the most recent No. 1 Lightweight contender, Nate Diaz.
"I doubted myself a lot because it was the first time I wasn't really hurt coming into a fight," Thomson revealed during his post-fight interview on FUEL TV. "I was wondering if I trained hard enough -- my last couple of weeks weren't my best. I was starting to doubt myself a little bit."
Doubt, apparently, is one hell of a motivator because Thomson turned Diaz inside-out last night inside the "Shark Tank."
He started off the match with a smart, frustrating strategy, attacking Diaz's lead leg with thumping kicks and keeping his distance. Diaz quickly became irritated, perhaps forcing him to press the action and keep Thomson close so that he could box him up Stockton style.
In round two, Thomson appeared to be getting sucked in, but he remained focused and, for the part, stayed out of trouble. And then it happened. Thomson uncorked a savage shin to Diaz's face as the pair separated. Diaz somehow managed to stay on his feet, barely, as Thomson stormed in for the kill with three perfectly-placed short hooks to the face as The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 5 winner fell to the mat.
He turtled up to avoid the onslaught, but Thomson was relentless, drilling him with brutal ground-and-pound that actually compelled Diaz's corner, which included his brother Nick Diaz, to toss in the white towel just as the referee was calling a stop to the action.
It was a jaw-dropping "Knockout of the Night"-winning performance for many reasons, but perhaps none more impressive than Thomson's ability to do what no other man has done before him, finish the ridiculously resilient Diaz with strikes.
"Honestly, I was more nervous for this fight then coming to fight his teammate Gilbert Melendez," said Thomson. "I don't know what i was, I just thought Nate posed a big threat to me in all areas of the game from being left handed, to reach to his grappling."
Not really, Josh.