Josh ‘The Punk’ Thomson will not face Anthony Pettis for the UFC lightweight title after all. Thomson, who was a replacement for the injured T.J Grant, was set to take on Pettis at the UFC on Fox 9 event in Sacremento, California.
Earlier this month, Dana White announced that Pettis required surgery for a knee injury and the fight with ‘The Punk’ was postponed. Last night after UFC 167 White told reporters that Thomson will not fight for the lightweight belt after all.
Thomson is now set to take on former lightweight champ Benson ‘Smooth’ Henderson; who lost the belt to Pettis via first round armbar back in August. The fight is set to headline the Fox event in Chicago early next year. The bout will be Thomson’s second fight in the UFC since returning to the promotion with a second round TKO over Nate Diaz, back in April this year.
Henderson has headlined two prior UFC on Fox events when he was the lightweight champ. He also beat Diaz in a unanimous decision at UFC on Fox 5, Henderson then defended his belt against Gilbert Melendez at UFC on Fox 7 in a controversial split decision.
‘Smooth’ has won seventeen of his last nineteen fights; with his only losses coming to the lightweight champ. While ‘The Punk’ has won twelve of his last fifteen, which included him beating Melendez for the Strikeforce lightweight belt. His three losses all came by close decision, two to Melendez and one to former Shooto lightweight champion Tatsuya Kawajiri.
Both men will be looking for a big win to put their claim forward for a title shot next. A win for Thomson should guarantee him another shot at Pettis. But will a win for Henderson be enough for him to face the champ again? I’m not so sure. What are your thoughts on the matchup?