411Mania: What was your life like before breaking into MMA?
Josh Thomson: It was pretty good. I have a normal life like a normal kid. Times were tougher in certain areas and stages of my life but I think everyone goes through that. I learned adapt better than the average kid.
411Mania: How did you get into MMA and who were some of your influences when you were growing up?
Josh Thomson: It really started happening after I got done with school. I wanted to still be competitive and I enjoyed sports so I started doing jiu-jitsu and kickboxing and put it all together. One of the guys I trained with asked if I wanted to start fighting so I did. A couple of fights later I started winning so I moved out to California and started training with Bob Cook and Javier Mendes and it grew from there. I got better and got paid more and said, “Hey this is kinda fun” and just kept doing. I was most influenced by my nature and how I grew up. I was always competitive and my dad raised me to be a tough guy and to stick up for yourself and to not take shit from people so that’s just kinda how I was. So I turned that into wrestling and jiu-jitsu and to thai boxing and it all fell into place. The sport just came along and it just let me channel my energy into something I liked.
411Mania: Your first fight was against Jason Abajian. What was the feeling heading into that fight?
Josh Thomson: That actually wasn’t my first pro fight it’s just that websites weren’t around when I first started fighting. It was a good fight, a quick knockout. It was the same thing back then you just showed up, weighed in, you knew you had a fight, and all I knew about him was that he was a wrestler from Arizona State.
411Mania: Any pre-fight rituals before a fight?
Josh Thomson: I don’t take a shower two days before a fight. That’s about it. *Laughs*
411Mania: That’s got to throw your opponents off on the ground.
Josh Thomson: That’s just something I’ve never done is shower that close to a fight.
411Mania: You’ve fought in both UFC and PRIDE. Do you prefer one crowd over the other?
Josh Thomson: Not really. Just a different experience. One makes a lot of noise and can’t keep their mouth shut while the other one is quiet and cheers when they see something good. It doesn’t really matter to me. A fights a fight. I enjoy a crowd that cheers when you do something good. I enjoy both places. Japan is just a different experience and I really enjoyed going over there to fight and I’d love to go back and fight over there again someday and I enjoy fighting in my hometown of San Jose.
411Mania: You had a flawless gameplan against Melendez just tell us about that fight, winning the Strikeforce Lightweight title, and fighting your friend.
Josh Thomson: I knew Gilbert and I would fight one day as long as we both kept winning. I didn’t see him losing in the future and I don’t think he saw me losing in the future so we knew it was going to happen. When it fought we knew there would only be one winner and we knew it was a business so it was something we dealt with. As for winning the title it was a great experience and there’s nothing like winning your first world title. Beating someone like Gilbert makes it all worth it. If I would have beaten someone not as good as Gilbert then it wouldn’t have been as gratifying.
411Mania: Any talks of a rematch between you two?
Josh Thomson: We really haven’t talked about a rematch right now. I’m taking it one fight at a time. I’m fighting Ashe Bowman this Saturday and after that I know I’m fighting November 1st in San Jose but I’m not sure against who yet. I know it’s not going to be Gilbert. It might be Ishida or another guy from Japan or DREAM.
411Mania: Your next fight is against Ashe Bowman, how much do you know about your opponent and would you rather it be a title fight?
Josh Thomson: When you fight a three round your title isn’t on the line. I trained long and hard for the fight against Gilbert and 5 rounds is real taxing on the body so it’s nice to get a fight that’s only 3 rounds. They’re really trying to get a top contender for me to fight and that’s nothing against Ashe but he’s relatively unknown and this is his big chance to step up and possibly sign a big deal with Strikeforce with a win over me. My obligation is to not let that happen.
411Mania: You’re fighting at the Playboy Mansion so I have to ask, who is your favorite Girl Next Door?
Josh Thomson: I think her names Kendra *laughs. The younger of the bunch. She’s pretty cute, she’s short and pretty cute.
411Mania: How did you get the nickname “The Punk”?
Josh Thomson: It through the boys at the gym. I’m a smartass, I like to have fun and goof off a lot. It takes a while to get used to me. I’m pretty brash and cocky and I have an arrogance about me so that mixed with me being goofy and pulling stunts and tricks on people while training it finally kicked in and it just kinda stuck. Everyone knows you don’t give nicknames to yourself so that’s what I got.
411Mania: Along those same lines, I read that you’re a big dance. Got a favorite move on the dance floor?
Josh Thomson: Nah, I don’t know the names of anything. I just go out there and shake my hips. *Laughs*
411Mania: What day before a fight do you color the streak in your hair?
Josh Thomson: I’m actually getting that done right now *laughs*. You’ll have to watch this Saturday to see what color it is.
411Mania: You mentioned you may fight Ishida in November, anyone else in mind as a potential opponent?
Josh Thomson: I always want to fight a top guy. Joachim Hansen has always been at the top of my list. I love the way he fights, his style. You know he’s going to bring the fight to you, he’s not going to bitch out and he’s going to fight until the bitter end. I always want to fight someone like that. Gomi is someone I would like to fight. Any of the top guys. I would love to fight the top guys in the UFC as well. I’ve been trying to work an avenue where Strikeforce champs fight the UFC champs but the UFC isn’t hearing that. I would love to see a fight where me and Cung Le take on BJ Penn and Anderson Silva. We just want to see our champs against theirs and see where we’re at. I think it would be a great opportunity to see where both organizations are at since we’re the top organizations in the US. BJ knows that I have nothing against him, he’s a great person but I just want to see where I’m at. I’m getting older know and I just want to see if I’m as good as I think I am.
411Mania: Any good AKA (American Kickboxing Accademy) stories? I always hear there are wars in that gym especially with Baroni training there now.
Josh Thomson: We try to keep the gym stories to ourself. You enjoy them and hear them from time to time and it’s just fun to watch. If you come in and set up a camera in our gym it’s something you could watch on a daily basis. It’s definitely funny.
411Mania: What about Cain Valesquez? Any truth that he runs through everyone at the gym?
Josh Thomson: *Laughs*. There’s so much truth to that, it’s hilarious. He just had knee surgery a couple of days ago but he’s a phenom. As he gets more experience in the grappling area and the striking area, he’s already a top notch wrestler, he moves like a lightweight, he’s very aggressive, great chin, unbelievable cardio. I don’t think anyone is going to give him problems until he gets to the top guys like Fedor and Nogueira. I don’t see any of the lower guys giving him any problems. He’s going to be a savage. I would almost put money on the fact that he’s going to be UFC champ pretty soon.
411Mania: Sticking with the Heavyweights, any thoughts on Couture vs. Lesnar?
Josh Thomson: You can never underestimate Couture but I think the age may finally catch up to him as well as the weight. I think the weights going to be a big deal. I think Couture against any other Heavyweight would have a chance and I would give him the advantage. I think Brock is just as good a wrestler as him, younger, bigger, more explosive but I wouldn’t rule out Randy though.
411Mania: Favorite movie?
Josh Thomson: Boondock Saints
411Mania: Favorite music to listen to while training?
Josh Thomson: It doesn’t really matter to me. I like to listen to hip hop when training but a lot of the boys listen to rock. I listen to anything. I enjoy country and everything. I don’t really have a favorite artist.
411Mania: Favorite TV show?
Josh Thomson: I don’t watch TV all that much so I don’t really have one. Comedy Jam probably. I enjoy the vulgar comedy.
411Mania: What do you like to do when you’re not training?
Josh Thomson: Lately I like to eat. *laughs*. I don’t know what it is, I think it’s an age thing. I quit drinking so I like to eat now. What a substitute. I just like to relax, enjoy my down time, and spend time with my dog.
411Mania: Favorite food?
Josh Thomson: Mexican food.
411Mania: Blonde or brunettes?
Josh Thomson: Brunettes. My girlfriend is brunette so I should say brunette *Laughs*
411Mania: Before we wrap it up, any sponsors you would like to thank?
Josh Thomson: If you want to get my gear you can get it at Knoxxgear.com. They have all my stuff including my “Frank Glamrock is my Bitch” shirt. You might see us (Frank Shamrock and I) fight pretty soon. I would really like to thank American Capital, a company I work for doing mortgaging and AKA of course.
411Mania: Best of luck this Saturday against Ashe Bowman and thanks for taking the time to speak with us.