Kos looks to pound way back to contention
Story by Robert Kravantka
Photo: Chris Cozzone
Josh “Kos” Koscheck started his MMA career in 2004, winning his first two fights before appearing on the The Ultimate Fighter Season 1. By his own omission, he was a wrestler at most, and suffered a loss to eventual Season One winner, Diego Sanchez.
Fast forward to 2006, and Koscheck ran off with 5 straight wins, including avenging his loss to , Sanchez. That was the first loss Sanchez had sustained, and Koscheck won not by shooting and taking down Sanchez, but rather from his vastly improved stand up.
Then the test came, a match with current welterweight title holder, George St. Pierre. While Koscheck lost the decision, it was evident that St. Pierre’s loss to Matt Serra at UFC 69 instilled in St. Pierre a game plan that prevented St. Pierre and Koscheck to trade in the stand up game.
Josh notes, “Seems like ever since he got knocked out by Matt Serra he just wants to come out and be this good wrestler. I think it will take a good wrestler to beat George St. Pierre, someone that can neutralize his wrestling, and stop his takedowns.”
In typical Koscheck fashion, he went back into the gym and training with American Kickboxing Academy, and continues to hone his skills in the stand up game.
“Two losses in a row could be the end of your career in the UFC," he says. "After a loss, you have to use that to motivate you, to train harder, and to learn from your mistakes in the previous fights.”
He started 2008 with a bang, taking out highly touted new comer, Dustin Hazelett with a left high kick that was followed by a flurry of punches. Josh continued his success with a grueling three round decision over Chris Lytle, who bloodied up Lytle with some ground and pound, but was willing to stand toe to toe thru all three rounds with the dangerous Lytle.
Koscheck, always looking to improve inside the Octagon, took the Thiago Alves fight on two weeks’ notice due to an injury sustained by Diego Sanchez. Alves handed Josh his third loss in the UFC, which ultimately led to Alves getting the number one contender against George ST. Pierre. Josh doesn’t regret the decision, and looks to keep learning and growing with matches.
“I would like to fight 5 to 6 times a year, or even 7-8 times if they would let me.”
As Koscheck’s short career has shown, he bounced back from the loss to Alves with a Knockout of the Night award against Yoshiyuki Yoshida at UFC: Fight for the Troops. At UFC 95, he looks to take his experience in the Octagon, and use it to make Paulo Thiago’s debut a miserable one.
“I feel like I am getting better with my experience," says Koscheck. "When you first step in the cage, you’re a little uneasy, you don’t know what to expect. I feel that I am becoming a complete fighter, and now that I have added striking to my game plan, I think it expands my fan base.”
Mixed martial arts fans will see that no longer is Koscheck a one dimensional wrestler, taking opponents down. It is this maturity, and an experience that has evolved both Koscheck’s fighting prowess and his work outside the Octagon. While building an impressive win loss record (14-3-0) in the Octogan, Josh has been busy outside with him being in Chevelle’s music video along with heading up his clothing line, Mar Clothing LLC.
“It can’t all be about fighting," he says. "I am diversified with my assets, looking out for good investments. You have to have a good portfolio, which is what I strive for. I can say, diversify, diversify, and diversify so that you can have longevity.”
That diversification, from his work outside the cage, and his work and training inside the cage have Josh listed as a favorite to win over new comer, Paulo Thiago. With his wrestling background, he should be able to stop the Thiago from taking him to the ground. However, Josh has quickly learned to never underestimate any opponent, noting, “I have to look at Paulo Thiago first. I am sure he is a hungry kid, and need to take one fight at a time. If I look past Thiago, he is probably going to kick my ass. For right now, I need to beat Paulo.”
The main event for the UFC 95 pits his old nemesis, Diego Sanchez against Joe Stevenson, as Diego drops to the lightweight division. Asked about any thoughts about Diego dropping to lightweight, Josh offered up, “No.” Asked about his possible movement to another weight division.
“No. I kick everyone’s ass at 170, so why would I want to leave.”
Chalk up some added humor to Kos’s repertoire.