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Josh Thomson is looking for six fights in the next year

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting
SAN JOSE, Calif. -- After Josh Thomson finished Pablo Villaseca in the second round of Friday night's Bellator main event, his second straight win in Bellator, the former Strikeforce champion said two things that probably surprised people.

The first, when asked in the cage about a potential lightweight title match with Will Brooks, he said that he would do it, but he feels the people would rather he face Michael Chandler.

"Right now the hype is for me to fight Chandler," he said in the cage.

And at 37, and having opened up a gym, and considering opening a second location, plus owning a clothing company, one would think he's not looking at fighting that often in 2016. But his goals are exactly the opposite.

"I want to fight six times in the next year," said Thomson (22-8), "I'm trying to get on the show in Fresno in three weeks. I've got a lot of fans in Fresno. Josh Koscheck (who is headlining the Fresno show) and I trained together for years and I'd like to be on the show with him. I'd like to get on the Houston show in February, and then back here in San Jose in May, so that's three fights right there."

After talking in the cage about wanting to face Chandler, Thomson was at first apologetic to Bellator officials if the idea was to build a fight with Brooks.

But he said that he had asked fans on Twitter who they would like him to face next, and the responses were overwhelmingly in favor of Chandler.

"Realistically, look, I've been a world champion, I've fought for the title, but I came here because I was asking to fight top guys. In the UFC, I wanted to fight Pettis, Cerrone, Alvarez, action packed fights, but they told me they had other plans. I asked for my release after the Bobby Green fight (in July 2014), but they didn't give it so I finished up my contract. I came here. The title sounds great, but I'm here to help build Bellator and that's what I want to do.

"After the show in St. Louis (on Nov. 6), I went on my Twitter feed and all the people were talking about was me and Chandler, not Brooks. People weren't interested in me with Brooks, fans wanted to see me and Chandler. When you're talking about doing numbers on TV, me and Chandler is the bigger sell. I'm here to build Bellator more than I want to win the title. I understand my position in this company and I'm here to put eyeballs on the television screen."
Bellator President Scott Coker wasn't sure which direction to go next.

"When he's motivated, on any given night, he can beat anyone," Coker said of Thomson, who held the lightweight title in Strikeforce and at one point was scheduled to face Anthony Pettis for the UFC title, but Pettis was injured and the fight never happened. "He just has to have that little fire in him. He's going to step up in competition. He'll probably fight in the first quarter or early second quarter (of 2016). I think either one would be a great fight."

While some would take what Thomson said as a slight, Brooks refused to knock him.

"Listen, no one is going to get me to bash Thomson," wrote Brooks on Twitter. "The guy has put his time in, and if he's more about fighting for $ & ratings he's earned it."