Josh Thomson: I Never Felt Intimidated By Ben Henderson, He’s Not Strong
No. 4-ranked UFC lightweight Josh Thomson has gone through some turbulent times as of late. Instead of getting his scheduled UFC on FOX 9 title shot against lightweight champ Anthony Pettis, Thomson was backed into a UFC on FOX 10 headliner against former 155-pound king Benson Henderson after “Showtime” backed out with a torn PCL.
The hits didn’t stop coming for Thomson, who dropped a very controversial split decision to Henderson in a bout many felt he won despite breaking his right hand early on. The injury left “Punk” largely unable to punch or grip throughout the bout, resulting in him being outstruck by a wide margin of 114-33.
But, he was still able to clinch will Henderson and take him down almost at will, even gaining advantageous positions where it looked like Thomson had the opportunity for a fight-ending submission. He never capitalized on that, but he did notice that all of things Henderson is touted for are a bit far-fetched.
“Punk” told Sherdog’s ‘Beatdown Radio’ that “Smooth” isn’t nearly as strong as he’s made out to be:
“Every time he got close to me, I felt like I was able to get to the body lock and just take him down. … All the things that I had in my mind with him being strong, being a hard kicker, all those things, they weren’t true. I put those in my head just from listening to commentary and from other people talking about how hard he kicks or how strong he is and these types of things.
We got in there and locked up the first couple of times and I didn’t feel intimidated at all. … Let me just tell you, he’s not strong. He doesn’t hit hard. He’s not strong. He doesn’t kick hard. All those things — none of those things apply. He’s a good athlete. He’s a good fighter. I’ll give him a lot of credit, but the things that people think hurt didn’t hurt at all.”
Quite the set of polarizing words from the “Punk,” but he does have a good point. If a man with a broken hand who is barely able to close his fingers can repeatedly slam Henderson to the mat, then maybe his vaunted strength and wrestling ability aren’t exactly as astronomical as they’ve been cracked up to be. Looking back at it, if Henderson was truly that dominant of a wrestler or a physical specimen, he probably would have locked up a few more clear-cut decisions (or maybe even a finish or two).
Still, “Punk” trains with notoriously hard-nosed wrestlers like UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez, Daniel Cormier, and Jon Fitch at American Kickboxing Academy, so his view of a strong wrestler is a bit skewed.
Either way, it’s obvious that the No. 1-ranked Henderson didn’t do nearly enough to lock up another shot at the belt against Thomson. With such a noted striking advantage, you’d think he would have been able to do some damage on an injured opponent.
Maybe his punching power isn’t all that dangerous as Thomson said, or maybe the “Punk” is still bitter at his razor-thin loss. Do you think there is truth to Thomson’s words, or is it just a case of sour grapes?
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