Josh Thomson approaching Benson Henderson fight as a 'chess match'

USA TODAY Sports

UFC lightweight contender Josh Thomson feels Benson Henderson's style will turn UFC on Fox 10 main event into a 'chess match'

When lingering concussion symptoms forced the UFC to scratch T.J. Grant off their wish list of opponents for a shot at lightweight champion Anthony Pettis, the door opened for a surging Josh Thomson to get that shot. Alas, a Pettis injury forced the cancellation of that fight, which was originally set to headline UFC on Fox 9 in mid-December.

Pettis' injury, a torn posterior cruciate ligament, required surgery. The expectation is that Pettis will be out of action for six to eight months recovering from that surgery.

When Thomson learned how long Pettis would be out of action, he elected not to sit and wait for his shot at UFC gold. With that decision made, Thomson (20-5-0-1) was booked opposite former lightweight champion Benson Henderson (19-3) to headline UFC on Fox 10.

That matchup seems fine with Thomson, who feels the No. 1 ranked Henderson is more of a threat to him than the current champion would have been, "I've got a lot of respect for Pettis, for him and Henderson both. I just feel that stylistically, Benson is more of a threat to me as far as the styles matchup. I have to worry about everything with him."

According to Thomson, he came to that conclusion after comparing his preparation for both fights, "With Pettis I felt like I had a good game plan for the first four or five weeks of my camp, and I felt that there's a lot more room in his game that I can exploit and win. Benson is more of a chess match. I have to play chess, and it's a who can get there first kind of thing with him. I have to be careful with him. He's good on the ground, he's got good wrestling, and he is southpaw. Those are the things you have to be ready and prepare for."

The chess match between Thomson and Henderson will headline UFC on Fox 10 from the United Center in Chicago, IL on January 25.

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