I had the opportunity to catch up with Ultimate Fighter Season One contestant and top five welterweight in the world, Josh Koscheck this past week. We talked about his upcoming fight at UFC 82 against Dustin Hazelett, his thoughts on why Matt Hughes is a dick, whether or not he would ever fight Jon Fitch, and a whole lot more. I can’t thank Josh enough for his time and giving us one of our most entertaining interviews to date. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed with what Koscheck had to say.
Adam Morgan: I guess, first and foremost, is it true that you’re fighting Dustin Hazelett at UFC 82?
Josh Koscheck: That’s sort of what it’s looking like. We’ve gotten a contract but haven’t signed it yet, but yeah that’s what it’s looking like, I’m going to be fighting him at UFC 82.
Adam Morgan: What are your thoughts on Hazelett as an opponent?
Josh Koscheck: I think he’s a young kid, I don’t really know him, never seen him fight. I’m sure he’s a nice guy and all that but it’s a long ways away, you know? We’ve got nine weeks or ten weeks so I’m just looking at it one day at a time.
Adam Morgan: You haven’t fought since the end of August and now it looks like your next fight will be in March. Is that the kind of layoff you want in between fights or would you rather fight more often?
Josh Koscheck: I fought a lot last year so I kind of like to fight. But it’s actually been good because I’ve gotten to spend a lot of time in the gym and just work on certain areas that I need to work on. I’ve been in the gym ever since the St. Pierre loss. It’s been god for me because I’ve gotten to improve in a lot of areas that I needed a lot of work in. I think it’s kind of a good thing that I’ve gotten some time off, it’s making me hungry and now I’m pretty anxious to fight again, so I can’t even imagine three more months of not fighting. Getting that opportunity to fight in March is going to make me hungry for that fight.
Adam Morgan: What did you learn from your most recent fight with Georges St. Pierre?
Josh Koscheck: I definitely learned a lot from that fight. Maturity is probably one of them, you know, believing you can compete with those guys and Georges fought a good fight that night and he was the better competitor that night. Hats off to him but I can honestly tell you that I didn’t fight my best fight. My wrestling wasn’t there, I was expecting Georges to probably keep the fight on the feet and I was prepared for that.
But that’s part of it, you know? You’ve got to come into a fight with a complete game, everything’s got to be on. Your striking, your wrestling, your jiu jitsu and would I have done that that night I think it would have been a different story. But I can’t look toward the past, I’ve got to look toward the future and that’s preparing myself for UFC 82.
Adam Morgan: I saw you’re involved with a new training camp out in Fresno, CA called Buhawe? Is that going to be your place from now on or are you still training at American Kickboxing Academy?
Josh Koscheck: No, I train at American Kickboxing Academy full time. When I go home on the weekends or don’t feel like going to San Jose for a couple days, I’ll stay there and I’ll train. Buhawe is a new gym in Fresno that has a lot of good, up and coming young fighters. You’ve got one of my good training partners, Billy Evangelista and Josh, our Muay Thai coach there.
It’s good for our community, you know? It’s a 10,000 square foot gym. It’s nice, it’s clean, it’s really, really big and open and I think it’s probably one of the nicest gyms in the area. I would encourage a lot of people in that area to go out there and visit that gym and check it out because I do stop in there here and there and I do train there. But most of my training is at AKA.
Adam Morgan: With both you and Jon Fitch being in the hunt at welterweight and training at the same camp, is there any chance we’d ever see you guys fight?
Josh Koscheck: Yeah, you guys can see us fight every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Just come up to our gym and check it out. You watch us spar, we go at it. Fitch is a great training partner for me and one of the reasons why I’m successful is because of Jon Fitch who I have pushing me every day, pushing me to get better in all areas of the game. If you guys ever want to see us fight, yeah, come on up there ever Monday, Wednesday, Friday, we’ll let you tune in and check it out. You won’t be able to record it but you’ll be able to sit down and enjoy a good scrap.
Adam Morgan: So you guys wouldn’t be opposed to getting into the Octagon in the future with a potential title shot on the line?
Josh Koscheck: Well, that’s something that would have to be discussed with our management and our coaches. Obviously we would have to sit down and talk about it over a couple beers or something. Right now there’s no need for me and Jon Fitch to fight, there’s plenty of guys out there for us beat up.
He’s been undefeated in the UFC, he’s been on a tear and he probably deserved and earned the next #1 contender spot here within the next one or two fights. Hopefully he gets that opportunity. People ask me if I’m jealous and I’m like “Hell no, I’m happy for him” because the kid trains his ass off and we’re a team. I’m happy for Jon Fitch and I’m happy where he’s at and I’m happy for the things that he’s got going on.
The past two years it’s been me, you know? Me, me, me, me, me. Now the worlds have changed a little bit and now it’s his turn to be up on top so I’m really happy for him. We’ll both probably get back up there and there’s a good chance that someday we possibly will fight, but right now there is no chance of that.
Adam Morgan: What are your thoughts on the welterweight division being put on ice because of this year’s season of The Ultimate Fighter?
Josh Koscheck: Well, I think it sucks because now there’s going to be two belts in our division and that kind of waters it down a little bit. But, you know, as soon as the winner of St. Pierre/Hughes fights Matt Serra, then we’ll unify it. Before the middle of 2008 I think it will be back to where it needs to be and we’ll get things rolling.
I actually was trying to take that fight that St. Pierre actually grabbed. They called and I said “Hell yeah, I’ll take that fight in a heartbeat,” but St. Pierre took the fight and I hope that St. Pierre kicks Hughes’ ass.
Adam Morgan: Is there any particular reason you want St. Pierre to kick Hughes’ ass?
Josh Koscheck: Well, there’s lots of reasons. I think Matt Hughes is a dick. Matt Serra is totally, totally correct from the show. I’ve actually been on that show, I know what they can do. I know what cameras and producers and people can portray you as. Matt Hughes is, he’s kind of…you know…alright, I’m just going to say it. I’m arrogant and I’m cocky but goddam, he’s way arrogant and more cockier than me.
Adam Morgan: A lot of fighters who like to train somewhere for a year or two and then move on to the next place to work on their all around game. Is that something you want to do or are you pretty content with AKA?
Josh Koscheck: Nah, AKA’s my home, man. I have like six coaches there. “Crazy” Bob Cook, Dave Camarillo, Javier Mendez, so many coaches covering every aspect of mixed martial arts so there’s no need for me to go anywhere. I have it all under one roof. I’m at AKA until my career’s over unless something drastic happens there.
Adam Morgan: How satisfying was your win over Diego Sanchez?
Josh Koscheck: It’s a good stepping stone in my career. Obviously when I fought him the first time I didn’t know anything about mixed martial arts. I have improved every single time I’ve gotten into the Octagon and even in my losses I’ve gotten better. I think it’s just a step in the right direction for my career. I knew that I could beat Diego, he’s only one dimensional. Me watching his fights and things like that, he hasn’t improved and I knew that I’ve improved. I got to train in mixed martial arts, finally, for a couple years and that’s the answer to me getting wins in the UFC.
Adam Morgan: What do you think of him possibly dropping to 155?
Josh Koscheck: You know, I don’t really care. I don’t care what these other people do for their careers. If they want to drop weight, that’s fine with me. The 170 lb. division is still tough. With him or without him it’s still going to be a tough division. I honestly don’t really care where he goes or what he does.
Adam Morgan: Can you tell me a little bit of the back story behind the video of the guy who came down to challenge you at AKA?
Josh Koscheck: Yeah, I was at an appearance, some appearance and this kid was like “Yeah, I wanna fight you,” and I was like “Yeah, sure you do.” He was like “Yeah, if I beat your ass, I’ll get into the UFC. You call Dana White and you tell him, I’ll get in the UFC” so I said “Yeah, okay, whatever.” I said “You know what, go in there and look up my gym,” and he wouldn’t leave me alone.
For about thirty minutes this kid was standing beside me and I’m thinking “Get the fuck away from me, man, you’re about to get knocked out right here,” you know? He was bugging me, so finally…he’s like a kid in a candy story with his Mom. “Can I have a Snickers? Can I have a Snickers? Can I have a Snickers?” So finally I basically said “Shut the hell up, kid, here’s a Snickers.” I finally said “Here’s the address to the gym. You go on AKAGym.com, you get the address, you come up there and you can spar with us.”
I didn’t want to fight him, I didn’t want to spar with him. It was a Friday, my last sparring day before by Diego fight, the very last sparring session and I was done sparring. Then like an hour later this kid shows up at the gym and I’m sitting there cooling down and he’s running his mouth, so I’m like “Alright buddy, gear him up.” So I gave him a good beating but the kid had a lot balls coming into a gym where fighters are at and talking shit like that. It was pretty funny. It was just a sparring session, not a fight. We geared him up, he said he had experience in fighting and we went at it in a little sparring session. It was fun.
Adam Morgan: You went on tour for a bit with Nickelback last year, is that right?
Josh Koscheck: Yeah, they’re a couple of my friends so I went to a couple of their shows with them. Just hanging out, nothing big. I talk to them on a regular basis just to keep up and every chance or opportunity there is to get together, we get together. They’re really good guys, you know, one of the most popular bands in the world right now so it’s kind of cool.
Adam Morgan: You’re a guy who a lot of UFC fans love to hate and you don’t really seem to mind at all. Some people choose to boo you during your entrances or your fights. Do you embrace being seen as “the bad guy”?
Josh Koscheck: Well I don’t know if that’s a good thing to embrace. Honestly I don’t care, I’ve always been like this my whole life. I could give two shits what people think of me and I could give two shits what people say about me. I’m here for myself and I’m here for my family. I go out there and I compete every day and train every day for myself. It’s not for anybody else but myself.
When it becomes where I’m out there competing and worrying about what people are saying about me then it’s time for me to step out of this career and get into a new career. But for right now I do this for myself, I don’t do it for anybody else. There are goals that I have and that I want to accomplish. I could care less if you boo me because I really honestly don’t care. I mean, if it happens it happens. Some day they’re going to love me because I’m going to start knocking fools out, so I’ll change them over.
The thing about the boos is you’ve got to have either one or the other. They’re either booing for you or cheering for you and if they’re a quiet church mouse then you’re not selling tickets. So tell all those fans out there to either keep booing or keep cheering because that’s all I care about.
Adam Morgan: Will the Columbus show in March be the closest to home you’ve ever fought on a UFC show?
Josh Koscheck: Actually it will, yeah. Most of my fights have been in Vegas, one in California, and one in Texas. Yeah, this will be really cool. I have a lot of people that want to come to the fight, so maybe I’ll get cheers this time, but I doubt it.
Adam Morgan: Are there any sponsors you want to thank?
Josh Koscheck: Sprawl has been a big supporter of me since day one, I really appreciate their help. Even when I wasn’t on TV they were sponsoring me. Definitely Mar Clothing, check out MarClothing.com, that’s my own clothing company and I started it about two years ago and it’s slowly growing. Of course all the fans that get on there and support me on KosMMA.com. Without the fans there is no UFC and I really, truly appreciate those guys. Also my management, Zinkin, their site is Zinkin.tv.
Adam Morgan: Any last words for your fans or anybody?
Josh Koscheck: Yeah…um, I want to kick Mike Swick’s ass. That’s the next guy I want to beat up. No, I’m just teasing. He’s my teammate, he’s at 170. He’s going to kick (Josh) Burkman’s ass here in a couple weeks.
Adam Morgan: Are you helping him prepare for that fight?
Josh Koscheck: Oh yeah. The funny thing about our team is that we’re really close, we have a lot of good guys. We probably have four…Jake Shields trains with us, Jon Fitch, Mike Swick, and myself, so there’s four tough 170 lbers, probably all in the top ten in the world. We’re a really close team and it’s a great place to be at American Kickboxing Academy. If you’re looking for a good place to train, hit Javier up and come on over there and train because it’s phenomenal.
Adam Morgan: Thanks for doing an interview with us.
Josh Koscheck: Cool, man, we’ll have to do it again.