After coming up short in his title challenge against Ben Henderson last month, UFC lightweight Nate Diaz will be returning to the Octagon at UFC on Fox 7: Henderson vs. Melendez (April 20th, San Jose), where he’ll face former Strikeforce champ Josh Thomson; CSNBayArea broke the news yesterday.
Thomson hasn’t competed in the UFC since his 2-1 stint for the promotion in 2003-2004, which ended in an unfortunate/incredible highlight-reel knockout against Yves Edwards. Since then, “The Punk” has spent most of his career fighting for Strikeforce, where he built an entertaining rivalry against Diaz’s training partner (and UFC on FOX 7 title challenger) Gilbert Melendez. Thomson briefly held Strikeforce’s lightweight title after winning a decision against Melendez in June 2008, and has picked up wins over Pat Healy, Gesias Cavalcante, and KJ Noons since then. His most recent appearance resulted in a split-decision loss to Melendez during their rubber-match last May.
Of course, the other thing Thomson is known for is his frequent injuries, and there’s a lot that can go wrong between now and 4/20. Let’s hope this one sticks together. In related news, the UFC has added three big matchups to their UFC 159: Jones vs. Sonnen card, which takes place the following weekend (April 27th) in Newark, NJ…
- Riding back-to-back knockout wins over Dave Herman and Matt Mitrione, Roy Nelson will be bringing his powerful fists and ratty-ass gray beard to UFC 159 against Cheick Kongo, who’s coming off his award-winning decision win over Shawn Jordan at UFC 149. [source]
- Speaking of bearded white guys: Fresh off his epic battle with Joe Lauzon at UFC 155, Jim Miller will look to make it two in a row against former Strikeforce lightweight contender (and long-lost twin) Pat Healy, who has won his last six fights. Winner gets TJ Grant, I guess? [source]
- And finally, top light-heavyweight contender Phil Davis and BJJ ace Vinny Magalhaes will also face off at UFC 159, settling their ongoing twitter beef. (More on that here.) Davis last competed in October when he submitted Wagner Prado at UFC 153, while Magalhaes made a successful return to the UFC in September, tapping Igor Pokrajac at UFC 152. [source]
So which fight are you most looking forward to, and how do you think they’ll turn out?