Josh “The Punk” Thomson is 38-years-old and has been fighting in MMA for over 15 years. With 31 pro bouts under his belt, the thought of retirement is ever-present, but he just wants to take his career step by step until that day eventually comes.
“You know, I really don’t want to put a stamp on it,” Thomson said on MMAjunkie Radio (transcription via MMAjunkie). “I’ve learned a lot from watching a lot of top professional athletes play football and basketball. You don’t want to make an emotional decision in an emotional situation. I just want to see how I feel each camp, see how it goes and when that decision needs to be made, I’ll make it.”
Thomson has been in the UFC in the early 2000’s; he has fought extensively in the Strikeforce ranks; he made his way back to UFC for a few years; and now he fights under the Bellator name.
“The Punk” clarifies it’s not the fights that wear you down, but the training camps before each fight. And with the recently revelation that deceased MMA fighter Jordan Parsons had CTE at only the age of 25 and with only 13 pro bouts to his name, such information has been weighing on Thomson as well.
“It’s not the fight that gets you, it’s the fight camp that gets you,” Thomson said. “So every fight camp is different as your body gets a little bit older. You start seeing a couple injuries here and there that weren’t there the time before. You start adding up and thinking to yourself if you want a quality of life after fighting. I think that’s what a lot of the fighters are seeing now. Especially now with some of the concussion protocols and stuff that people are talking about with Jordan Parsons having CTE found (following his death). People are wondering what’s going to happen to them later.
“Given all the research that was developed after the movie ‘Concussion’ came out, fighters are paying attention. You hear a lot of them talking about not sparring three days a week or two days a week. Maybe they’re only sparring once a week hard, the rest of the time they’re working drills and techniques or just sparring the last month before a fight.”