Josh Thomson is reuniting with Scott Coker, as the former Strikeforce champion signed an exclusive multi-fight, multi-year contract with Bellator on Tuesday.
Thomson is a former Strikeforce lightweight champion and was viewed as the No. 1 contender to the UFC 155-pound title at one time. He is 20-8 with one no-contest in his career.
“I had the pleasure of working with Josh in Strikeforce and I look forward to continuing this relationship in Bellator MMA. Josh is a world-class mixed martial artist and we are very happy to be adding him to our roster of some of the best lightweights in the world,” said the promotion’s president, Scott Coker. “Bellator remains fully committed to building its roster by signing top free agents like Thomson, as well as grooming up-and-coming blue-chip stars. We have some amazing match ups in mind for ‘The Punk’ that we hope to be announcing in the weeks to come.”
Thomson, who trains out of the American Kickboxing Academy gym in California, has scored wins over Nate Diaz, Pat Healy, KJ Noons and others during his career. The soon-to-be 38-year-old has also fought the likes of Benson Henderson, Gilbert Melendez and Clay Guida.
“I’m over here reading this UFC reporter saying that they’ve declined to re-sign me when the truth of the matter is that they’ve been trying to re-sign me for my last two fights. I declined and instead chose to fight out my contract and test the free agency market with Bellator,” Thomson said. “At that point, Bellator made me an offer that the UFC was unable to match given their relationships with FOX and Reebok. It’s a done deal, I’m back working with Coker, and I couldn’t be more excited to get back to an organization that is trending upwards with fighter-friendly contracts.
“Any intelligent fighter is going to go where the money is, and for me the money was at Bellator.”
Will Brooks is the current Bellator lightweight champion, and the division also includes the likes of Michael Chandler, Marcin Held and Patricky “Pitbull” Freire.