Josh Koscheck is one of the most dominant welterweights in the UFC, bringing his wrestling background into the Octagon with a heavy dose of kickboxing and some brutal strikes, most recently seen in full effect when he knocked out Frank Trigg at UFC 103. Barely two months later, Koscheck is scheduled to fight Anthony Johnson at UFC 106. Heavy.com’s Jeremy Botter sat down to talk about his preparations for the fight and the possibility of a title shot in his future.
Heavy.com: How is your training camp going for this fight?
Josh Koscheck: The training camp for this fight is done. It went very well. I couldn’t ask for a better camp. I had a lot of guys in my gym that were competing — two guys fought for Strikeforce, and obviously Swick and Fitch have both been in training camps for their own fights. Needless to say, there’s been a lot of good action at AKA over the last five weeks.
Heavy.com: You’ve become known as one of the UFC’s “designated fighters”, someone who will fight on any card when he’s needed. Why do you want to fight so often?
Josh Koscheck: That’s pretty simple, actually. One, I like to fight. Two, I like to make money, and the only time I make good money is when I fight. So why not get in there and do the two things that you like? I love to fight, and I love making money.
Heavy.com: Do you worry about wearing down from fighting too much?
Josh Koscheck: No. I’ve been wrestling since I was five years old. Hopefully next year the UFC will give me ten to twelve fights. I’d like to have one fight per month. I’d do three weeks of training, one week off for the fight, and then go right back into training camp for the next fight. Ten to twelve fights next year would be a dream. That would be awesome.
Heavy.com: You’ve spent time training with Anthony Johnson in the past, right?
Josh Koscheck: He was at American Kickboxing Academy a long time ago, I think about two years ago. I’m not really sure how long ago it was. But I got to train with him a little bit, to grapple with him and spar with him. So I know what this kid is about.
Heavy.com: How does that affect your mindset in this fight? Is it the same as fighting a teammate?
Josh Koscheck: He was never a teammate. He would just show up once in awhile and train. So trust me, my mindset is right. He’s just another guy. He’s trying to take me out, so I’ll do my best to take him out. I’m going in there for a war and I’m going in there to put fireworks on him.
Heavy.com: Is fighting Anthony Johnson like fighting a middleweight?
Josh Koscheck: I don’t think so. I mean, look at Fitch. Look at Swick. They’re both big welterweights and I get to train with those guys. I train with a lot of big guys at my gym. I’m not sparring with slouches every day. Jake Shields was in our gym for the last portion of his training camp and he weighed like 196. He was very big for his fight on CBS.
So I get to train with a lot of big guys, and I’m not concerned. And I’m not a small welterweight, either. I might be short but I’m very thick, and I usually walk into the cage right around 187.
Heavy.com: With Swick losing to Hardy, do you feel like now is your opportunity to make a statement and put yourself in line for a title shot?
Josh Koscheck: Well, regardless of the Swick/Hardy outcome, my mindset going into this fight was still that I’m going into this fight to make a statement. My mindset isn’t changing just because Swick lost the fight. He’s my teammate and I’m going to support him in every way, and I believe he’ll come back stronger next time. But my mindset doesn’t change. I took this fight because I know I can beat this guy’s ass, and that’s what I’m concentrating on.
Heavy.com: Do you think Dan Hardy deserves a title shot? He’s had very few fights in the UFC and it seems like he’s cutting in line.
Josh Koscheck: No. He doesn’t deserve a title shot. It’s simple, but I don’t make those decisions. They’re just trying to get someone for St. Pierre to beat up. I just have to take care of business on Saturday, and I’ll let my work speak for where I belong.
Heavy.com: A lot of people think you put up one of the best showings of anyone against St. Pierre in your first fight. Are you looking for an opportunity to get back in there and correct the mistakes of your first match with him?
Josh Koscheck: You know, I had an opportunity earlier this year. I was going to fight St. Pierre after my match with Paulo Thiago in February, but I lost. I knew what was on the line in that fight, but I went out there, made a mistake and got caught. So that’s just part of it. But you have ups and downs in your career, and anything can happen in this business.
I’m going into this fight confident. I’m going into this fight with the mindset that I’ve got to beat this guy down. If I want to move forward and show that I’m the number one contender, I have to beat Anthony Johnson. It’s just that plain and simple. I’m not thinking about giving how I gave Georges St. Pierre a better fight than anyone else. That’s not good enough for me. I’m not even considering a title shot right now. What I’m concerned about is getting a victory on Saturday night and getting an impressive victory over Anthony Johnson.
Heavy.com: How does it change things for you to be in the co-headliner position? How does that change the pressure to perform for the fans?
Josh Koscheck: Nope. Nothing changes for me, man. I’m going out there to finish this fight. I plan on ending this fight. This fight will not go to the judges.
Heavy.com: When you are so focused on an opponent and a goal, how much does it affect you to have to do these interviews? Or does talking about it help bring it into focus?
Josh Koscheck: I’ve been in the UFC for five years now, you know? This is just part of the business. It’s part of getting the word out there and hyping up the fight. I enjoy doing interviews. I mean, today I’m just hanging out at my house and packing for Las Vegas and lounging around. I’d rather be doing interviews and promoting the fight so more people will tune in.
Heavy: Yeah, and you’ve had a reputation as being one of the best in the business at selling fights. Do you mentally understand how to sell fights, and where did you get that from?
Josh Koscheck: It’s called business. If a lot of people are tuning in to watch your fights, you’re going to want to say or do something to get even more people to tune in and watch your fights. Because the more people that watch you fight, the more money you make. So for me, it’s business.
I’m the type of the person that has an engaging personality, and I have the ability to say things that can either get people to hate me or get people to love me. I’m very happy with where I’m at in my fighting career. I’m on the right track. My training is good, and I can guarantee you that we’re not going to have a relapse of the Machida/Shogun judging in Los Angeles where people are bitching about who won the fight. We’re not going to have a Randy Couture/Brandon Vera relapse where someone complains about the judges. This fight will not go to the scorecards. I promise you that right now.
You can follow Josh Koscheck on Twitter.
Check out our MMA Interview Archive for tons more interviews.