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At 32, Josh Thomson admits he’s thought about life after fighting

Stirkeforce lightweight hoping to meet DREAM fighter Tatsuya Kawajiri in next fight

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Sam Morris

Josh Thomson acknowledges supporters after his Strikeforce bout against Pat Healy on June 26, 2010 at the HP Pavillion in San Jose, Calif. Thomson won by submission in the third round.

Physically, Josh Thomson doesn't feel anywhere close to the end of his career.

Mentally, however, the Strikeforce lightweight admits he looks back on everything he's accomplished in mixed martial arts and sometimes wonders, "What's left?"

"I'm on that borderline where I'm ready to make another chapter in my life," Thomson said during a recent trip to Las Vegas. "I feel like I've done everything I possibly could. I've been fighting for a long time now.

"I'm going to make this last run at the title and see what happens."

For the record, Thomson (18-3) is far from officially declaring the end of his career, and his eyes light up when discussing what appears to be an inevitable third meeting against current champion Gilbert Melendez, with whom he's split two previous fights.

But at 32, Thomson says the appeal of retiring from fighting and starting a family is very, very real.

"I'm at that age where I'm ready to have kids and open my own gym," Thomson said. "I want to do my own thing. I'm ready to settle down."

In addition to wanting to explore other aspects in life, Thomson sounds like a fighter who feels he's running out of exciting fights in his division.

Other than completing his trilogy against Melendez, there aren't a lot of possible match-ups that get Thomson's blood going.

He shrugs at Strikeforce names like Billy Evangelista (11-0) and Lyle Beerbohm (14-0), saying, "They're definitely great fighters, but I don't think they can beat me."

He was interested in pursuing a fight against Roger Huerta (21-5-1), until Bellator champion Eddie Alvarez (21-2) dominated him in his last fight. Thomson obviously would welcome a fight with Alvarez, but knows that won't happen anytime soon.

One fight he is hoping for is a clash with Japanese star Tatsuya Kawajiri (26-6-2).

According to Strikeforce officials, there is a "good chance" the DREAM fighter will be featured on one of its cards early next year, but which opponent he'd face is undecided.

Thomson is hoping — and expecting — it would be him.

"I'm thinking (my next fight) will probably end up being Kawajiri," Thomson said. "That's a fight I might kick back and wait for. I've wanted that fight forever. He's somebody that excites me."

Recent news of a merger between the UFC and WEC, which will combine the lightweight division of both promotions, has had no effect on Thomson's interest in jumping organizations.

Thomson says the only names he'd like to fight in the UFC are Frankie Edgar (13-1) and B.J. Penn (15-7-1) and believes the merger simply was a nice way of saying the WEC had failed.

"They made it sound so great that a company went under," Thomson said. "The simple fact of the matter was that the WEC failed and they put it with the UFC to carry it.

"To compare WEC lightweights to Strikeforce and the UFC is not fair because if they were that good, they would have been fighting for the UFC. I think the world of (Jamie) Varner, but I beat Hermes (Franca) and Hermes beat Varner. Varner was the WEC champ for awhile. So, where does that leave us?"

Although he's hoping for Kawajiri, Thomson says he's open to any fighter Strikeforce puts in front of him and he'll expect a tough fight whoever it is.

But should he run into problems against an opponent he expects to dominate, as was the case when he fought Pat Healy in a close fight in June, Thomson admits he likely would put a lot of thought into life outside the cage.

"If I fought Kawajiri and lost, it wouldn't distract me," Thomson said. "But if I lost to somebody that I wasn't supposed to lose to, then I would start to wonder. To be honest, I had that feeling with the Pat Healy fight.

"Basically, that would have been one of those fights where if I had lost, I would have thought, 'Is this really for me anymore?'"

Brett Okamoto can be reached at 948-7817 or [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter at LVSunFighting

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