koscheck

After a unanimous decision loss to Thiago Alves at UFC 90: "Cote vs. Silva" in October 2008 -- and an epic spat between officials from his management team at Zinkin Entertainment/American Kickboxing Academy (AKA) and the promotion -- the top welterweight contender's future inside the Octagon was suddenly (and shockingly) a huge question mark.

No longer.

MMAmania.com can reveal that The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) alum recently agreed to a 20-month contract extension, which will keep him locked up until almost 2011.

"I feel that the extension is a good thing for me because I still have a job," Koscheck quipped. "The UFC is the only show in town. If I wasn't with them I would be a struggling fighter looking for work in a struggling country."

Koscheck does not intend to sit back and smell the stale stench of his sweaty gym. On the contrary, the national collegiate wrestling champion intends to continue his blistering pace of taking fight after fight.

"There are a lot of reasons I want to fight so much," he said. "I am in the gym all year around and I would rather be fighting then just training. The only way I make money is by fighting. So I told the UFC that I want to fight five or six times in 2009. I don't care who I fight, anyone willing to step up I'll be ready. I am a fighter and that's what I love to do."

Indeed, Koscheck most recently annihilated Yoshiyuki Yoshida -- a very dangerous Japanese fighter -- with a scary-looking two-punch knockout at UFC Fight Night 16: "Fight for the Troops" on December 10. He defeated "Zenko" just six weeks after losing to number one division contender, Alves, in the "Windy City."

He took the fight against the bruising Brazilian on less than 14 days notice to replace an injured Diego Sanchez. It didn’t go his way and he made no excuses for the loss, making it hard to hold it against him.

Koscheck got right back on the horse and does not appear to want to get off anytime soon, wanting to fight as often as possible to get back in the 170-pound title chase. The 13-fight UFC veteran will continue that chase against relative unknown and newcomer to the promotion, Paulo Thiago, at UFC 95 from The O2 Arena in London, England, on February 21.

It's once again a risky move, taking on an opponent who not many will give him enough credit for defeating if he wins. But that doesn't matter -- Koscheck just wants to keep busy. And he will not allow himself to be a stepping stone for Thiago ... or anyone else for that matter.

"Every fight is a dangerous fight when your in the UFC," he said. "I have to train hard and not give this kid a chance to make his name off of me. The upside to fighting Paulo is that I get to fight!"

Koscheck has won three of his last four fights — he knocked off Dustin Hazelett and Chris Lytle before the Alves loss. With another win, combined with his unrivaled "gameness," Koscheck could find himself once again on the short list of 170-pound title contenders sooner rather than later.

"I want to fight five to six times this year -- I'll be very unhappy if the UFC can't get me fights," he said. "I am happy to be back and I'm ready to fight."

One down Feb. 21. Only five more to go ... in 2009.

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