James Thompson is best known to American MMA fans for having his ear blown up on national television in an ugly loss to Kimbo Slice last year. As he prepares to fight Alistair Overeem in Japan on Sunday morning, his cauliflower ear looks good, and he says he feels great and is ready to fight Overeem. Unfortunately for Thompson, Overeem is likely to bust him up a lot worse than Kimbo did.
Overeem, the Strikeforce heavyweight champion and a K-1 World Grand Prix finalist, is a much better fighter than Kimbo, and it'll be a major shock if Thompson makes it out of the first round against Overeem. (If Thompson were to beat Overeem, it would be the MMA upset of the year.)
In meeting the Japanese press on Friday, Thompson and Overeem were complimentary toward each other.
"I've known James Thompson from Pride where I was a light heavyweight," Overeem said. "Personally I think he's a nice guy, but what can I say? I'm going to hurt him. I've been training a lot of K-1 for th K-1 fights, I'm focusing on striking and I'm planning to do a lot of damage with that."
"I've known Alistair quite a while, watched him fight, watched him improve," Thompson said. "He's doing very well at heavyweight. It's going to be a tough fight for me but I look forward to tough fights in Japan."
Interestingly, Overeem never mentioned Strikeforce, the promotion whose heavyweight title belt he has owned -- but hasn't defended -- for two years. Thompson, however, did mention Strikeforce, saying he still has three more fights on his Strikeforce contract.
Assuming Overeem KOs Thompson on Sunday, Thompson will have lost five straight fights by knockout or TKO. With that kind of record, I think it's probably safe to say we won't ever see those three Strikeforce fights.