“I think it’s a joke that you guys have guys like Ben Henderson ranked above guys like JZ. You guys got to be freaking kidding me. This kid is a beast. The guy’s a great fighter. He’s well-rounded, has great ground and pound. He’s fought Masato [Kobayashi] in K-1. Are you guys kidding me? Really? You guys have a guy named Ben Henderson ranked above this guy? You guys are out of your mind. This guy’s a savage. He’s good on the ground, he’s got good submissions, he’s got everything you need. He’s one of the best fighters I’m ever going to face in my life… I told this to everyone I did interviews with: I could go out there and fight the fight of my life and still lose. That let me know when I started this camp how hard I had to train and what I needed to do, and I’m prepared for that. I’m not going to go out there and get in a slugfest with him. There are times I’m probably going to chase after a knockout if it’s there, it presents itself. But the last thing I want to do is stand in front of him and get hit. I’m not going to go out there and shoot a single leg takedown without setting it up. It’s got to be something where everything works to my advantage. I’ve got to bait him on the feet to get the takedown. I’ve got to shoot the takedown to maybe land something on the feet. I’ve got to beat him everywhere. There’s no way I’m going to win this fight by just doing one thing. “
—Josh Thomson, via MMA Fighting, blasting the media for ranking WEC lightweight champion Ben Henderson above his opponent, JZ Cavalcante
Ben Henderson is ranked above JZ because he’s active, undefeated and a title holder in the WEC while JZ has lost two of his last three and spent more time rehabbing injuries than fighting in the past couple years, but Josh Thomson does have a point. JZ Cavalcante is still a beast and a tremendous addition to Strikeforce’s lightweight division if he can stay healthy. I’m picking Nick Diaz and Sarah Kaufman to retain their titles on tomorrow night’s card, but I’m not nearly as confident about who’s going to win this one. Should be a hell of a fight between two top tier lightweights.
Check out Thomson and JZ at the pre-fight press conference below.