Josh Thomson came up on the wrong end of a close decision Saturday. | Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
Josh Thomson’s split-decision defeat to Benson Henderson might serve as the last straw for the talented lightweight from American Kickboxing Academy.
Former Strikeforce champion Thomson addressed the controversial defeat during Saturday night’s post-fight press conference at Chicago’s United Center, expressing his disappointment at the verdict of the cage-side judges.
“My opinion doesn’t matter. As you can tell, I lost,” said Thomson. “The only thing that really matters is the three people sitting on the cage, and they decided [my opinion] didn’t matter. That’s it.”
Thomson took charge of the hard-fought bout in the first round by quickly snatching Henderson’s back off a takedown, but “The Punk” apparently broke his thumb in the process of winning the opening period.
“The first round, I came back, and said I thought it was broken. Bob [Cook] told me to suck it up and get back out there,” Thomson said. “It was really bugging me. I couldn’t grab anything. Every time I went to fight his hands off, my thumb would just bend all the way back. It was just irritating to know that the things you need to do, you can’t do out there. You train this hard for this long -- this was a long camp -- and you see your title shot just f---ing disappearing. Without getting emotional right now, it’s really irritating me.”
Though the injury would nag Thomson for the bout’s remaining 20 minutes, the Californian soldiered on, driving hard for takedowns and going toe-to-toe with the former UFC champion in the scramble-heavy affair.
“I guess fighters are like hockey players. We don’t get carried off if we have cramps,” said Thomson. “We’re just going to keep fighting. That’s what we get paid to do. I’m sure I speak for everybody up here -- broken hand, broken thumb, we’ve all fought through it. This is what we do it for.”
In the end, the gifted but oft-injured lightweight came up short on the judges’ scorecards, an experience he also went through nearly two years ago in his rubber match with Gilbert Melendez over the Strikeforce title.
“The Gilbert fight -- that, to me, was a close fight, but I could see how it went either way,” said Thomson. “Tonight, I felt like I won with one hand. I beat the former UFC champ who was [on top] for two years, and I beat him with one hand. That’s what I can’t stomach. I’m a better fighter. That’s what pisses me off.”
While “The Punk” stated that he would need to regroup before making any decisions on the status of his career, he did not shut the door on the possibility of hanging up his gloves, succinctly asserting that “this might be it.”