Josh Thomson leads a hard life these days. He most recently defeated highly regarded lightweight Gilbert Melendez to obtain the Strikeforce lightweight championship belt. He has won his last seven fights. He now will take a non-title fight against Ashe Bowman on Saturday night at the infamous Playboy Mansion.
MMAWeekly Radio caught up with Thomson to discuss how things have been going since being the newly crowned champ. “Things have picked up a lot obviously since I won the title,” said Thomson. “I've been doing a lot of traveling back and forth to Hollywood and the L.A. area and just trying to stay busy. Trying to make a buck.”
The last event that Strikeforce had at the Playboy Mansion, the matches were spread, the timing of the fights wasn’t as fluid as usual, and the fights started a little late. Thomson believes the kinks have been worked out and this event will go a little smoother. “The first time was probably a little rougher than this time will be. I don't think the fights are going to start as late as they did the last time. I'm kind of hoping the fight is a little earlier so I can enjoy the rest of the night.”
Thomson is looking forward to defending his belt sometime in the near future, but in this case, he's happy to be fighting a three-round bout this time around. “Last year, this show didn't make Strikeforce a lot of money. I think it was something to get the attention of the public to get them to, you know, watch Strikeforce. Anytime you have anything at the Playboy Mansion, you're definitely going to get some exposure on TV,” he explained.
“I think that's what they are looking to do. These type of shows, you're really there for the atmosphere of it all. It's still a fight no matter how you look at it. You just don't have the added stress of a five-round fight in a three-round fight. I think they limit it to three-round fights for all of the fighters. I think it's better that way. It's a faster turnover to get the ball rolling. You're really there for entertainment anyway.”
Although Ashe Bowman isn't yet a Gilbert Melendez caliber fighter, “The Punk” realizes the opportunity that Bowman has to catapult himself into the lightweight division. “He's really the sweeper in my division in this sport,” complimented Thomson. “He's the one that if you don't pay enough attention to, he's going to creep up behind you and pull a win out of his ass. I really can't afford that. It creates problems for the future and not only that but it would really suck to come off such a great performance I had over Gilbert and then lose to somebody who's relatively unknown.”
Regardless of the fact that Thomson is taking Bowman seriously, it is easy to accidentally let your guard down. Thomson has a very specific game plan for Bowman so he doesn't get caught with anything. “I just got to be cautious without getting carried away and doing anything stupid. I think just technically fight at my pace and dictate everything.”
If Thomson is successful against Bowman, he is looking forward to stepping up his competition for his next title defense. He has been lobbying to get more top competition in so he can test himself against the best fighters in the world. Though he's not sure whom he's fighting, he has a couple ideas who he would like to fight.
“I don't really know yet, but I know it's definitely going to be someone tough. I am lobbying… potentially to bring somebody from Dream, yet to be named. I've definitely stressed in the past that I'm willing to fight guys like Joachim Hansen, (Tatsuya) Kawajiri and those guys. Those are the guys that anybody wants to fight. I think I rise to the occasion when I fight tough guys like I did when I fought Gilbert, so why not keep fighting the top guys.”