The UFC on FOX 10 card that airs January 25th features a high level Lightweight main event as former Champion Benson Henderson faces off against Josh Thomson. With Champion Anthony Pettis out of action with an injury, this match is probably the number 1 and 2 guys in the division behind the champion, so it certainly has title repercussions. With both men coming from different directions to this match, it is a difficult match to get a read on.
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Henderson deserves credit for his title run, as he took the belt from Frankie Edgar and defended it three times, defeating Edgar again, Nate Diaz and Gilbert Melendez. Though he earned several split decisions, Henderson did it against very good competition.
But the loss to Pettis left some observers with a bad taste in their mouths. For all his vaunted defensive abilities, ‘Bendo’ seemed to succumb quickly to Pettis, and he appeared lost and indecisive in the press conference and subsequent appearances. He competed in the ADCC Submission Wrestling World Championships in China, and he was impressive in the outing.
But this is his return to the UFC and in Thomson he faces a very hungry veteran. Both have roughly the same number of fights and Henderson is 5 years younger, but Thomson, at 35 years old, remains in top physical condition. Though he has had his share of injuries, Thomson has avoided the mileage some 35 year old carry.
Thomson, as stated, has been around for a long time. He has been in the UFC before, and he was one of Strikeforce’s top fighters for years, and he has always had a vision of what he wanted from the sport. Now at 35, with a UFC title shot and big money in his grasp, Thomson will be more focused than ever. Thomson has a great personality and is marketable, and you can be sure his ego would love to spend the last few years of his career as the champion of the UFC. That type of motivation and the head of steam that comes with his UFC wins ma make Thomson an insurmountable task for the returning Ben Henderson.