Josh Thomson 'begging' for 'tough' fights to fast-track UFC title shot, starting with T.J. Grant

Esther Lin for MMA Fighting

Josh Thomson is eying a UFC lightweight title shot, but “The Punk” doesn’t want any favors, "begging" for "tough" fights that get the former Strikeforce champion on the clear-cut No. 1 division contender road sooner rather than later.

He lobbied for a fight against Anthony Pettis, but it failed to pay dividends when "Showtime" was pegged to face Ben Henderson at UFC 164. Now, Josh Thomson has turned his attention to another top lightweight -- and former No. 1-ranked 155-pound contender -- T.J. Grant.

Indeed, "The Punk" claims that a bout between him and the tough Canadian would be a perfect mixed martial arts (MMA) match up because both men will be fit and able to return to the Octagon around the same time later this year.

Grant was recently forced off his title fight against "Smooth" thanks to an intense jiu-jitsu session that left the scrappy brawler with a concussion, while Thomson is plans his next move with Pettis booked to compete for a coveted Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) world title in Milwaukee, Wisc., on Aug. 17, 2013.

It's an opportunistic -- albeit "tough" -- scenario that has the Strikeforce import thinking it could develop into a meaningful showdown.

Thomson made his case on "The MMA Hour:"

"I'm begging and pleading for it. I've made it very clear that whoever they decide they want me to fight, that's going to make it the fastest way to the title, that's who I'll fight. T.J. would be great. I mean obviously they offered him the title shot and things didn't work out, he got injured, and I'm not going to be ready anyway until probably the end of September or early October, as far as being able to train hard and go at it, and T.J. said he'd be ready in November, so I think it's perfect. I'm not asking for any favors, I want to fight the toughest and best guys that are going to get me to the title the fastest. That's it ... that's all I want."

Thomson was last seen in action knocking out Nate Diaz at UFC on Fox 7 in what was his return to the Octagon after a decade-long absence. Grant, meanwhile, blitzed through Gray Maynard in the very first round at UFC 155 in Dec. 2012.

According to "The Punk," he isn't looking for any handouts or favors -- he is more than willing to grind his way to the top. And a fight against the tough-as-nails Grant will most likely provide the stiff challenge for which he is pining.

It's not like Grant has an immediate title shot guaranteed upon his return.

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