The two will face off on the April 20 card at the HP Pavilion in San Jose. It’s the same location as the show seven years ago, in a bout confirmed Tuesday by UFC President Dana White. For Thomson, it’s his first UFC fight in almost nine years, since losing via head kick to Yves Edwards.
Seven years ago, when Strikeforce had its much-celebrated debut, Josh Thomson was in one of the big fights on the show challenging Clay Guida to become the company’s first lightweight champion.
A preliminary fight on that card was also the third professional fight of Nate Diaz, a 1-1 fighter whose name at that time was only familiar because of his more famous older brother Nick.
Thomson (19-5, 1 no contest) ended up being one of the four major stars who built the Strikeforce promotion. Due to all the problems with Strikeforce canceling shows in the past year, Thomson hasn’t fought since a split decision loss to Strikeforce’s lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez on May 19 in San Jose, Calif., a fight that many had him winning.
Diaz (16-8) went on to win the fifth season of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) reality show, and is coming off a loss when challenging Benson Henderson for the UFC lightweight title, losing via decision on Dec. 8 in Seattle.
Thomson, who grew up and still lives in San Jose, has fought nine times previously at the arena. Diaz, from Stockton, Calif. about 90 minutes away, was at most of the shows in the arena, often to corner brother Nick or teammate Melendez, but never fought in the building since that first show where he finished Tony Juarez in the first round. After the fight, his career took him to the old WEC before eventually becoming a regular with the UFC.