Josh Koscheck Plans to Put Mike Pierce ‘To Sleep’ at UFC 143

Josh Koscheck (Matt Erickson/HeavyMMA)

Former top contender believes he’s in title contention at welterweight

Josh Koscheck has been to the top of the welterweight division, and he’s looking to stay on course as he works his way back toward contention.

In order to keep his spot at the table he’ll have to defeat crafty veteran Mike Pierce, a fighter with everything to gain in their matchup Saturday at UFC 143.

“That is where my motivation comes from in this fight,” Koscheck told HeavyMMA. “I don’t have anything to gain from it, but I have a lot to lose. I have an opportunity to step up and win, but it’s coming against a guy who is pretty much a nobody in the sport. He’s not ranked, and I need to come in there and put a beating on him just like the oddsmakers think I should.

“Mike Pierce is a good fighter, but he’s not a great fighter. Most people wouldn’t know who he is unless they were a die-hard fan. He hasn’t had a high-profile fight before. I’m going to come out with fireworks and put this guy to sleep.”

Wrestling has always been one of the most dominant disciplines in MMA, but  Koscheck has been able to expand his ground game to add knockout power. The American Kickboxing Academy-based fighter has collected a highlight-reel list of finishes and believes he is going to add Pierce to it.

“I can expose any part of Mike Pierce’s game,” he said. “I plan to be the first guy to knock him out or submit him. If I have to put him on his back or in positions he’s never been in before, that’s what I’ve got to do. Realistically, 15 minutes isn’t that long – and I could do anything for that amount of time.

“I think in the beginning, you could get away with being a straight wrestler. But the game changed. You can’t go in there and just wrestle anymore. You have to be well-rounded and able to put guys away. I have proven that I can do that.”

Just a year ago, the UFC welterweight division was thought to be “cleaned out” by champion Georges St-Pierre. Over the course of the last year, a new pack of contenders has emerged – and Koscheck believes with a win over Pierce, he keeps his seat at the table and would like to jump right back into action to test the other contenders.

“I think I’m right there,” he said. “I have to go out and win over Pierce, but I’m right in the hunt for the title. I want to win this fight and get on to the next one. I don’t get paid to train. I get paid to fight. I’d like to fight four or five times a year. I know there are a lot of shows right now, but that also means there are going to be a lot of opportunities over the next six months for me to get fights in.”