Former UFC, Bellator Lightweight Josh Thomson Announces MMA Retirement

Josh Thomson
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Thomson Calls It A Day

Former UFC, Bellator and Strikeforce lightweight Josh Thomson has officially announced his retirement from the sport.

The 41-year-old announced the news on his “Weighing In” podcast along with veteran MMA referee “Big” John McCarthy.

“I can say that I’m officially retired,” Thomson said. (via MMA Fighting). “I can finally say it. And the thing is that you have to say it sometimes just to say what you just said, because I realized I was taking more shots than I should have been taking. And I don’t want to live that lifestyle, I didn’t want to be in there as a punching bag to anybody. I was taking more in training – that’s the thing, people only see the ones you take in the fight. They don’t realize that you’re taking more in training too, because there’s young, talented studs in my gym. And those guys are whooping your ass too; it’s not just the one guy in the cage that you’re fighting. It’s the lead-up to it. It’s all the other shots you take in there.

“That’s the hardest part, and so when you’re telling me all the things that [Donald Cerrone] went through, that’s exactly what happened, and I could see myself getting hit more often than I wanted to.”

Thomson cited the damage Donald Cerrone has taken in his last three fights as well as the tragic death of Kobe Bryant this past weekend as factors contributing to his decision as well.

“I see what Donald Cerrone’s going through right now, and there’s a whole other life after fighting,” Thomson told MMA Fighting. “You have another 20, 30, maybe even 40 years if you’re lucky, god willing, to live, and you have your kids and you have your life. I guess because of what happened on Sunday with Kobe Bryant, losing him and his daughter and everything, reality sets in that there’s a whole life after [playing] that he was just getting to enjoy, and you never know when it’s going to come to an end, (or) how it’s going to come to an end.

“I have family that I haven’t seen in years; my dad passed when I was younger, and I was trying to live the dream as a fighter at the time, and I missed opportunities and chances to spend with him. There’s a lot of things in life.”

While many have retired in the past only to return to action again, Thomson doesn’t seem likely to follow suit, especially as he is satisfied with his other ventures which include being an analyst for Bellator.

“I’ve really made the decision,” Thomson added. “I walk past the cage now, and I hear their bodies getting hit, I hear their head getting hit, I hear the clash of their bodies together, the slams – it doesn’t do anything for me. I don’t have the desire anymore to do it. I was motivated for this one fight to come about, and when it didn’t come about and time’s ticking, time’s not on my side, then I’m not really willing to continue to wait, and the longer I wait, the harder it is for me, and the less it benefits me to jump back in.

“So I have no desire. The other thing is that I’m really good friends with [Scott] Coker outside of the business, and we’ve had several conversations about what’s best for myself and what’s best for Bellator, and how I can better help Bellator in any capacity possible. We’ve come to agree on a lot of things on how I’ll be used and how I can help better the organization. And I would rather do that than come back for one money-grab fight. It just doesn’t make any sense.”

Thomson was notably a former Strikeforce lightweight champion after outpointing Gilbert Melendez back in 2008. He also competed in the UFC in two separate spells, the latter of which was from 2013 to 2015.

He eventually finished his career with Bellator where he went 2-1 with the promotion, with his last outing being a knockout defeat to Patricky Freire back in February 2017.

He has defeated the likes of Nate Diaz, Pat Healy and Duane Ludwig over his career while he’s also faced fighters such as Tony Ferguson, Clay Guida and Yves Edwards, albeit in losing efforts.

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