By Chris Howie
December 3, 2008
Although he walked onto the set of the first season of “The Ultimate Fighter” with little to none experience in the MMA world, Josh Koscheck used his wrestling background to earn a spot in the semi finals during the show and since that time has not looked back, finding himself in the top five ranked welterweight fighters in the world today.
Holding an 11-3 record in his MMA career, Koscheck has fought for the UFC Welterweight title and has found himself fighting nothing but top competition over the last few years.
Although once frowned upon by many fans for being a wrestler who used his outstanding wrestling ability to win fights as opposed to looking for a big KO, “Kos” has been really developing into a true Mixed Martial Artist, his last few fights being stand up wars. As opposed to the decisions that Koscheck was winning most of his fights by he has picked up a vicious TKO over Dustin Hazelett this year and has been winning over the fans that once seemed to hate him so much.
In this MMANews.com exclusive interview, Koscheck talks with Chris Howie about his upcoming fight on December 10th against Yoshiyuki Yoshida, where he sees himself in the welterweight picture these days and looks back at his time on TUF.
Chris Howie of MMANews.com: You took the Thiago Alves fight on sort notice so it’s a safe bet you had already been in the gym anyway, but how has preparation for this fight on December 10th been going for you?
Josh Koscheck: Training has been going great. Today was a great day and everyday has been good. I’m focused on day to day. There will be one more hard week of training and then we are all done.
MMANews.com: How are you feeling going in?
Josh Koscheck: I feel good. I’m healthy for the most part and I am in great shape, I can tell you that.
MMANews.com: It’s been apparent over your last few fights that your Muay Thai skills have been improving. You’ve said in the past t hat you don’t really focus much time on your wrestling so I was curious just how much time you are spending during training on your striking?
Josh Koscheck: I’m always working on my Muay Thai and my Jiu-Jitsu as well. I’m just trying to tighten up my whole game and put everything together. If I can perform the way I do in training come fight time it is going to be a bad night for someone.
MMANews.com: How are you feeling about your BJJ?
Josh Koscheck: It’s well man. We do a lot of BJJ, wrestling, and takedowns. I’ve just been living in the gym pretty much.
MMANews.com: How are you feeling you match up with Yoshida?
Josh Koscheck: I think it’s a real good style match up. He’s a judo player and I’m a wrestler so you could be in for an entertaining fight. Hopefully he has trained well and is healthy and comes prepared to fight a good fight the way I am.
MMANews.com: Where are you seeing yourself in the welterweight picture now?
Josh Koscheck: Oh man, after that loss I’m right back in the mix with everybody. I’m back in the grind of trying to stand out and get another shot at the title. Just because you lose a fight doesn’t mean you give up on your dreams of being the welterweight champion someday. That’s my focus right now and I am trying to win December 10th, that’s for sure.
MMANews.com: What are your thoughts on fighting on the Fight for our Troops card?
Josh Koscheck: I think it’s a good opportunity. It should be an exciting night. Hopefully the UFC and MMA fans can dig down deep inside… I know times are tough right now in this country with the economy and having a new president and things of that nature but I think it’s a good thing that the UFC is stepping up and showing support for our troops who are the true warriors in this country and hopefully we can raise some money and bring awareness to this foundation.
MMANews.com: There have been some minor distractions around the AKA…
Josh Koscheck: There have been no distractions for me at all. I have been focused on training and that is it. There has not been one distraction for me and I have just been focused on Yoshida and that’s pretty much the bottom line.
MMANews.com: So anything that has gone on recently with the UFC and AKA and Jon Fitch, you’ve stayed out of that picture?
Josh Koscheck: I’ve just put my nose to the ground and have focused on training.
MMANews.com: Coming off The Ultimate Fighter a lot of fans and critics gave you a hard time and you were stuck with the “lay and pray” moniker on you. Over your last few fights you have seemed to gain a lot of fans, what do you think about the change?
Josh Koscheck: I think what a lot of people do not realize is that when I went on TUF I had zero experience in MMA. I never took one BJJ class; I never had anyone hold pads for me. I think I hit a bag a few times and went on the show. I went strictly in there on my wrestling ability. It was just a matter of time before I developed into a true fighter. I’m a quick learner, things that could take days and hours to teach someone I pick up on minutes and seconds. I go in there to win, I’m not going in there to get knocked out and I use my wrestling to win and if people don’t like that than it’s just too bad.
MMANews.com: Could it have anything to do with fans maybe not being educated in the sport and always looking for that big KO?
Josh Koscheck: Of course, there is going to be a learning curve for everyone in this sport. I never had any MMA training and showed up for the show and went to the finals. I was wrestling every day and was coaching. My priority was to help these kids reach there goals of being an All-American wrestler. Once I got on TUF I realized like, “Oh shit”, I need to learn some MMA.
MMANews.com: A lot of the guys that were on that first season really went on to make names for themselves but caught a lot of flack along the way but I guess it goes to show you guys were no joke.
Josh Koscheck: A lot of people thought we were just TV guys and wouldn’t be UFC fighters but we are making names for ourselves and headlining cards. Chris Leben just headlined a card, Diego Sanchez is doing well for himself, Kenny Florian is going to be fighting for a title again, and Forrest Griffin is the light heavyweight champion. It’s kind of awesome for us to get to look at all those people and say “Ha Ha Ha, look at us now.”
MMANews.com: Where the first season was obviously the most successful in terms of talent to come off the show, what do you think was the difference between season one and the next seven seasons?
Josh Koscheck: They didn’t pick the first season on personality and that’s the difference. They picked it on fighting skills.
MMANews.com: So you feel it’s kind of a ratings thing now?
Josh Koscheck: Well I think they will always get the ratings even if they had a lot of good guys in the house knocking each other out but they look for the personalities now, but that’s just my opinion.
MMANews.com: Alright Josh, anything you’d like to say to your fans or any sponsors you’d like to mention?
Josh Koscheck: Just keep supporting MMA. We put ourselves on the line everyday for you guys. You can check out my clothing company, marclothing.com and you can see all my sponsors on my website, kosmma.com.
MMANews.com: Alright thanks again for speaking with me and good luck Dec. 10.
Josh Koscheck: Thank you.