By: Helen Mei @helenmeimodel
Photos by Tracy Lee @mstracylee
Josh Thomson on Biggest Risk Ever: Nicknamed “The Punk”, Josh Thomson is a powerhouse in the lightweight division of the UFC as he boasts an impressive record of 20-6 in his professional career. The former Strikeforce Lightweight Champion is regarded as one of the best talents in the division. Though his first appearance in the UFC was over a decade ago at UFC 44, he still remains one of the top lightweights in the organization today. Since January of this year, Thomson accomplished yet another feat. The hard worker expanded his impressive resume even more by opening up his own gym, D.A.S.H. Cardio Studio, in San Jose, California. Combat Lifestyle got in-depth with the fighter as he discussed his thoughts regarding new opponent Bobby Green, as well as how he was able to balance both training and operating his new gym. He also talks about Batman, football, and even discusses his opinion on NBA star LeBron James.
Thomson has always been a dominant force in the UFC lightweight division. His next test will be on Saturday, July 26, as he faces Bobby Green in his hometown, San Jose. For him, being able to fight at home is always a positive. He explained, “Yeah, i love fighting in my hometown. I get to sleep in my own bed and keep my same routine. Everything is right on track so it kind of helps out.” Though Thomson was originally set to fight Michael Johnson, an injury forced Johnson to withdraw from the fight last minute. Bobby Green was then announced as Thomson’s new opponent. He expressed his thoughts on the recent change. “It is what it is. One thing that sucks about it is you’re trying to prepare for a new opponent just within that one week and you’ve been training specifically for somebody else; it’s a little tough.” He continued politely, “I feel like I’m getting a tougher opponent and somebody who is hard to figure out because he just has an all over style. Bobby Green is more well-rounded and very athletic so I think it’s going to be a great fight.” The fighter remains focused and humble. “It’s going to be interesting because like I said, it’s only a week of preparation specifically for him so it’s going to be interesting to see how it all pans out.” As for the future, Thomson says he can’t see anything beyond his upcoming fight but hopes for a possible title shot and a good outcome.
Not only has the lightweight fighter been preparing for his upcoming bout on Fox, but he recently opened up his own gym in January. He thoroughly elaborated on the uniqueness of his gym. “It’s an interval training gym that I opened up so our main focus is cardio, conditioning, and light weights.” He gave examples of the equipment one would be able to find at D.A.S.H. Cardio Studio. “We use medicine balls, kettlebells, dumbbells, TRX, resistance bands and things like that. What we do is a minute of interval training and plyometrics mixed with a minute of cardio. We do a minute on, a minute off for 35 minutes so it’s a short duration of workouts.” Thomson further explained how the idea of opening the gym came about. “A whole group of guys I train with at American Kickboxing Academy basically used to do this workout three days a week; I decided to open the gym that is basically in the same type of facility.” With his recent fight camp and training schedule, he wasn’t able to spend as much time there as he’d like. However, he is pleased with his team who have been very helpful. “I hired a good group of people who are great trainers. A couple of them have kinesiology degrees.” He then mentions how he has been able to juggle a busy schedule as both an entrepreneur and professional athlete. “I have someone who knows how to run small businesses who is helping me with growing pains. l’m surrounded by great people who know how to help me out.” Though he is surrounded by a strong team, he feels opening his gym was the biggest risk he’s taken. “Opening this business is a huge risk while you’re still fighting.” He admits without hesitation. “Trying to run a business and trying to maintain competing as a top level professional athlete is pretty tough.”
The talented lightweight wanted to become a fighter because he didn’t want to do what he referred to as a “real job”. Though his family was not supportive of his career choice early on, they quickly changed their opinion. “Once UFC signed me and they saw I was on TV, they became real supportive.” Though the composed lightweight talent doesn’t live his life to a certain motto, he has learned a lot from his earlier years. “I just try and stay clean and eat clean. I try to stay close with my family and not get too distracted with the limelight and spotlight of all this stuff. When I was younger, I let it all get to me. Now that I’m older, i’M more focused on making sure I’m enjoying every last bit of it.” He modestly continued, “I’m training hard, keeping my nutrition and health clean. I’m also spending as much time with friends and family as I possibly can.” He has a younger brother and a younger sister. Aside from preparing for his upcoming bout, the hardworking fighter opened up about a few of his other goals outside of competing. “I definitely want to start working more with kids. I want to open up a facility like a martial arts, wrestling, and jiu-jitsu place for them. That’s my main focus right now.” Josh Thomson expresses his passion for helping children. “I love working with kids and helping out with less fortunate youth that live in the area and can’t afford a whole lot. “It’s just hard because you have to make enough money to support other people; it’s not cheap.”
Aside from mixed martial arts, Thomson was asked about his other interests. He expressed his hobbies and other sports he enjoys watching. “I love doing everything. Mountain biking, anything to do with outdoor activities. I love being out with my dogs.” Thomson then revealed his favorite movie. “I really enjoy the first new set of Batman with Christian Bale and Heath Ledger. It was a great movie. I liked Good Will Hunting when it first came out, but movies come and go, like new songs.” He further elaborated, maintaining an easygoing attitude. “When it first comes out, you love it. Then you overplay it and get sick of them.” His taste in music ranges from hip-hop, country, to reggae. When the busy fighter has time, he enjoys watching Suits. As for sports he likes to watch, he shares his vast and diverse knowledge with Combat Lifestyle. “I’m into all sports. I like football. I got caught up in the World Cup. I love hockey but I don’t really watch it until mid-season. I like watching basketball around playoff time.” He continued, “I don’t really get into it in the beginning of the season.” As for his favorite teams, he voiced, “I’m a Kansas City Chiefs fan for football. As far as hockey, I like the Sharks and Blackhawks. For basketball, I like Oklahoma City but I follow more of the players.” He revealed his favorite player. “I follow Kevin Durant because I love watching him play. He’s a great athlete who’s very soft-spoken and humble.” He further addressed in a light-hearted manner. “I used to cheer for LeBron James all the time when he was a Cavalier but then he went to Miami where he was with a bunch of good guys.” Though his views changed about the NBA player, he’s looking forward to the upcoming season, “Now he’s going back to Cleveland, I’d really like to see him win it without everybody else. I think he has the opportunity to do it; He has a good group of guys there. They just need a little more leadership which he can provide for them. They always have a hard time getting through the San Antonio Spurs, but I think the younger teams and more athletic teams will be able to beat them. He’s got a bunch of good young players.”
Modest, respectable, hardworking, and diligent are just a few words to describe Josh Thomson. After over a decade of being one of the most dominant fighters in his weight class, his work ethics help him continue to remain one of the best. Beyond being an accomplished professional athlete and businessman, the lightweight fighter also remains easygoing and humble. He is also passionate about his career, and opened up about his biggest fear. “Not enjoying what’s in front of me right now as far as my career. You don’t want to be one of those guys that walks away from it all too soon and say ‘man, I still have some left in me and I didn’t spend the last of it enjoying the moments.’ That’s the biggest fear, making sure you enjoy every little step along the way.”
Thomson thanks Oak Grove Technology for their help with his gym, as well as Affliction. Make sure you check out his gym, D.A.S.H. Cardio Studio @dashcardiosj , in San Jose, California. You can follow him on Twitter @therealpunk