It turns out that Bellator 172 would be the final time that Thomson would compete, as Thomson has announced his retirement from professional MMA competition.
“I can say that I’m officially retired,” Thomson said on Weighing In (via Alexander K. Lee of MMA Fighting). “I can finally say it. And the thing is that you have to say it sometimes just to say what you just said, because I realized I was taking more shots than I should have been taking. And I don’t want to live that lifestyle, I didn’t want to be in there as a punching bag to anybody. I was taking more in training – that’s the thing, people only see the ones you take in the fight. They don’t realize that you’re taking more in training too, because there’s young, talented studs in my gym. And those guys are whooping your ass too; it’s not just the one guy in the cage that you’re fighting. It’s the lead-up to it. It’s all the other shots you take in there. That’s the hardest part, and so when you’re telling me all the things that [Donald Cerrone] went through, that’s exactly what happened, and I could see myself getting hit more often than I wanted to.”
Thomson went 22-9-1 as a professional MMA fighter and he captured the Strikeforce Lightweight Title by defeating Gilbert Melendez at Strikeforce: Melendez vs. Thomson in June of 2008.
A retired Thomson says that the damage he suffered over a lengthy professional MMA career is what lead to the decision to hang up the gloves.
“[Melendez has] taken more damage in probably the last three or four than he took in almost his whole career,” he said. “And I looked at myself too, and I felt like I hadn’t taken a whole lot of damage up until the Tony Ferguson fight. I took that fight, (and I) took a ton of damage in that fight. Then I went to Bellator, one fight, really no damage, second fight, really no damage, but I could also feel the difference of when I got hit and how I felt when I got hit, versus just walking through it. Once you know, I could come to grips with that, every day I would tell myself, ‘Dude, you’re getting hit and you feel these shots now.’ I never used to feel them. Now when you feel them you’re like, this isn’t the same, this is not what I fell in love with. This feeling of training and getting hit, it’s not the same any more.”
Fans can still expect to see Thomson on future Bellator MMA broadcasts, as the fighter does commentary work and analysis for the promotion.