Josh Thomson has been caught UFC lightweight division limbo since joining the promotion along with a group of other ex-Strikeforce fighters.
His only UFC fight came almost a year ago when he defeated Nate Diaz by TKO at UFC on Fox. His absence would usually mean having to work his way all the way up the ladder in the division, but that’s not the case according to UFC president Dana White:
“Here’s the reality: If Thomson wins, he’s the next in line.”
“Obviously Ben Henderson just lost very decisively in his last fight with (Pettis). Should Benson Henderson win, we’ll see what’s up with Gil.”
So it sounds like the opportunity is Josh’s to grab. The Gil that White refers to above is former Srtikeforce lightweight champ Gilbert Melendez. Melendez defeated Thompson twice during their Strikeforce days, once taking Thomson’s title and the last time defending it successfully.
Many fans feel that Melendez deserves the title shot more than Thomson, but if Thomson beats Henderson than that narrative could change quickly.
White is working hard to keep Melendez in the title picture regardless of the outcome of Thomson V. Henderson.
“I met with (Melendez) the day before – it went well,” White said. “We like him. We’re working on re-signing the kid. We had a lot of contracts that needed to be re-upped, and we’re getting them all done now. We just re-signed Travis Browne, we just re-signed Dan Henderson, we just re-signed Tim Kennedy. And now we’ll get this Gil deal done and start working again and not doing deals every day.”