In a competitive five-round bout with former UFC Lightweight Champion Benson Henderson, Thomson was on the wrong end of a split decision. Henderson’s luck with judges continued in the close bout. The loss for Thomson meant he would not be guaranteed the next title shot against Anthony Pettis.
After the event concluded, Thomson mentioned that “this might be it” for his illustrious career. That would be unfortunate and not at all official. If Thomson does decide to return to the cage, the question is: Who is up next for the elite fighter?
Thomson brings in a complete skill set, quality name value and a high ranking. The options are not great, but here are three names for Thomson’s next outing.
This fight won’t happen, but the UFC should not completely take it off the table.
Why? Timing, injuries and the lack of a for-sure top contender.
Henderson is not likely to get the title shot, and TJ Grant has yet to return from injury. That leaves Gilbert Melendez as the lone opponent for Pettis. What if something happens to Melendez in training, or what if the timing isn’t quite right? Thomson still makes sense as the backup contender.
The UFC can push how close and contentious the decision loss to Henderson was. The fighters below Thomson in the rankings are not ready to challenge for the championship, and that leaves Thomson sitting pretty.
The UFC should not throw Thomson out of the title picture just yet.
Grant was on a roll, and he earned a title shot. A concussion in training forced him out of the title shot. He has not returned since.
There is no set timetable for Grant’s return, and with Thomson’s post-fight revelation, that could work to this fight’s benefit.
Grant will most likely not return to a title shot after such a lengthy absence, and the fight with Thomson could be a title eliminator bout later in 2014 when both men are ready to return to action. It is a fight that makes a lot of sense for both men and the UFC Lightweight Championship.
Rematches are not the fans' favorites, but sometimes they makes the most sense. That is the case with this potential rematch.
Henderson is not getting the next title shot, and it was a very contentious split decision. There is little reason not to make this fight.
Thomson broke his hand early in the bout, and that altered how the fight played out. It left questions surrounding the contest. With both men sitting high in the rankings, this fight could play out as a title eliminator.
The fight would not sell a pay-per-view, but it would make an outstanding main event for a future Fox Sports 1 or UFC on Fox card. It cannot be a co-main event. This fight must be five rounds and not three.
Henderson vs. Thomson was one of the most fun lightweight tilts in the past year. Seeing it again would be a treat. The result would hopefully be more definitive than the one we got on Saturday in Chicago.