Josh Thomson will return to the Octagon on April 20 to meet Nate Diaz at UFC on Fox 7.
The event takes place at HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif., and is headlined by a lightweight title main event pitting UFC champion Benson Henderson against final Strikeforce titlist Gilbert Melendez. The evening’s main card airs live on Fox’s flagship network and will also see Strikeforce heavyweight grand prix winner Daniel Cormier lock horns with ex-UFC king Frank Mir.
Thomson has not competed in the Octagon for more than eight years. “The Punk” went 2-1 in a three-fight stint with the promotion from 2003 to 2004 before joining Strikeforce, where he won eight of his first nine fights and captured the promotion’s lightweight title from Melendez. “El Nino” would have his revenge in 2009, however, taking a unanimous decision from the American Kickboxing Academy standout to snatch the strap back. Thomson was last seen tangling with Melendez for a third time, dropping a hard-fought split decision to the reigning champion this past May at “Barnett vs. Kharitonov.”
Seven years younger than his foe, Diaz, 27, recently came up short in his title bid against Henderson, falling via unanimous decision to “Smooth” last month at UFC on Fox 5. The setback snapped a three-fight winning streak for the Cesar Gracie Fight Team representative, who bested Takanori Gomi, Donald Cerrone and Jim Miller to earn his title shot against Henderson. Known for his sharp boxing and excellent submission skills, Diaz has never been finished under the UFC banner and owns 11 of his 16 career wins by way of submission.