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MMA veteran Josh Thomson officially retires after 16 years of competition

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Josh Thomson has decided to call it a career.

Last November, former Strikeforce champion and MMA veteran Josh Thomson was looking at a possible fourth fight against Gilbert Melendez. But in a recent episode of the Weighing In podcast he co-hosts with John McCarthy, “The Punk” put that all to rest and made his retirement announcement.

“I can say that I’m officially retired,” the 41-year-old Thomson said (transcript by MMA Fighting). “I can finally say it. And the thing is that you have to say it sometimes just to say what you just said, because I realized I was taking more shots than I should have been taking. And I don’t want to live that lifestyle, I didn’t want to be in there as a punching bag to anybody.

“I was taking more in training – that’s the thing, people only see the ones you take in the fight. They don’t realize that you’re taking more in training too, because there’s young, talented studs in my gym. And those guys are whooping your ass too; it’s not just the one guy in the cage that you’re fighting. It’s the lead-up to it. It’s all the other shots you take in there.”

Thomson solidified his decision after seeing the damage Donald Cerrone has absorbed in his recent fights, along with the death of retired NBA superstar Kobe Bryant on Sunday.

“I see what Donald Cerrone’s going through right now, and there’s a whole other life after fighting,” Thomson said in another MMA Fighting interview. “You have another 20, 30, maybe even 40 years if you’re lucky, god willing, to live, and you have your kids and you have your life.

“I guess because of what happened on Sunday with Kobe Bryant, losing him and his daughter and everything, reality sets in that there’s a whole life after [playing] that he was just getting to enjoy, and you never know when it’s going to come to an end, (or) how it’s going to come to an end.

“I have family that I haven’t seen in years; my dad passed when I was younger, and I was trying to live the dream as a fighter at the time, and I missed opportunities and chances to spend with him. There’s a lot of things in life.

“I’ve missed weddings and things like birthdays and Christmases and Thanksgiving (while) training for fights,” he added. “I was at the gym instead. Not that it’s regrets – it’s just you realize now as you’re older, those are things that you want to get back a little bit, or you want to be part of now.

“I’ll be 42 this year, so it’s not like I’m a spring chicken, and you hear the term all the time that ‘Father Time is undefeated.’ But the reality of it is that fool be whipping everybody’s ass around this age.”

Thomson (22-9, with 1 NC and 16 wins by stoppage) held two stints in the UFC. The first one took place from 2003 to 2004, while the second happened from 2013 to 2015. He also had two fights under the PRIDE FC banner.

Thomson signed with Bellator in 2015 and fought three more times. He last saw action at Bellator 172 in 2017 against Patricky “Pitbull” Freire, where he lost via second-round knockout.