Josh Thomson Talks Bellator, Aaron Pico, Career Highlights, and More

Bellator MMA Josh Thomson
Credit: Dave Mandel/

We spoke to Josh Thomson about his career path, young prospect Aaron Pico, and his new home of Bellator MMA.

Fighter, analyst, pioneer, legend. All these titles properly describe Bellator lightweight contender Josh Thomson. It’s hard to believe that he has been fighting professionally for nearly 15 years, and even though ‘The Punk’ is almost 39 years old, he shows no signs of slowing down.

Transitioning from fighting to being an analyst is no easy feat, there some guys who adapt quite well, although, plenty of fighters have struggled behind the desk. Thomson did a fine job on the Bellator NYC broadcast, more than holding his own with experienced personalities Jenn Brown and Brendan Schaub.

“It’s crazy the amount of time we spend as analysts preparing for the event, the entire week before the show its meetings all day, from 9 a.m. to 9:30 at night, preparing just so we sound good,” Josh Thomson told Cageside Press in a recent interview.

Bellator MMA is quickly becoming a legitimate rival to the UFC, both in terms of talent and fighter acquisition & ancillary support. But as far as ‘The Punk’ is concerned, one fighter represents Bellator better than anyone.

“Listen, Michael Chandler is the face of Bellator. I don’t care that he lost to Primus. Let’s be honest, that was a fluke thing that happened, and I’m not taking anything away from Primus either”

Josh Thomson was a former champion in Strikeforce and a top lightweight contender in the UFC before bringing his talents to the Viacom-owned promotion.

He holds the foremost distinction of being the only man to ever knock out a Diaz brother. Of course, this is referring to his victory at UFC on FOX 7 where Thomson delivered a perfectly placed head kick followed by strikes to end the fight.

As for what Josh Thomson considers his crowing achievements: “My fight with Hermes França at UFC 46,” ‘The Punk’ said with little hesitation. “That was the first fight I really faced adversity, I had to dig deep and see if I was a real fighter. I found a reason to win, most people find reasons to lose.”

The San Jose native has been training at the American Kickboxing Academy (AKA) for almost two decades. He has trained with some of the best minds in the sport, and at 38 years old, Thomson has taken a bit of a mentor’s role at the gym.

“Yea Aaron Pico lost, but he won’t be defined by this loss, he is in good spirits,” Thomson said in regard to Pico’s recent setback. “I told [Pico], Conor McGregor lost his first fight, I lost my first fight, Renan Barão, Bernard Hopkins, Andrei Arlovski all lost their first fights. I didn’t need to say anything after that.”

With Thomson’s new-found success as an analyst, many people have speculated if ‘The Punk’ ever fight again. “Once Benson (Henderson) and ‘Pitbull’ fight, things will be more clear,” Thomson assured Cageside Press.

No matter what Josh Thomson does in the sport of MMA, fans and media alike love them some ‘Punk’. And at the usually elevated age of 38, Thomson is still going full-speed ahead.