I recently had the chance to catch up with Josh Koscheck after a training session for his upcoming fight against Dustin Hazelett at UFC 82. We talked about the upcoming fight, his training camp, Koscheck’s thoughts on a possible fight with Matt Hughes, Mike Swick’s move to welterweight, and more.
Adam Morgan: How is training going for the upcoming fight against Dustin Hazelett at UFC 82?
Josh Koscheck: Training’s going pretty well. I’m pretty much done with training right now, there’s two more hard days left of training. I’ve had a pretty good training camp, a lot of good training partners this time around. The gym’s been packed with a lot of guys like Mike Swick, Jon Fitch, (Kuniyoshi) Hironoka from Japan has been here for a couple of weeks, Frankie Edgar and one of his buddies and the list goes on. There’s just been a lot of good training partners so I feel I’m gonna be well prepared for this fight.
Adam Morgan: You’ve had about 6 months since your last fight. Is it safe to say that you’re pretty anxious to get back in the Octagon?
Josh Koscheck: Yeah, you know, I hate taking this much time between fights but it’s just the nature of the business. I’ve been training pretty much the whole time, haven’t taken any time off so now I’m just looking to fight.
Adam Morgan: Does it upset you at all to have your fight moved to the undercard?
Josh Koscheck: Not really, it’s whatever the UFC wants they’re gonna do. I could be pissed off, I could be upset about it but I’m still getting paid the same so it doesn’t really matter to me. A fight’s a fight whether it’s on TV or not. The really cool thing about it is I’m going to be fighting in front of 19,000 people and it’s a big stage and it is what it is. If I let that bother me then that could take away from the actual fight, so I’m just focused on winning the fight and that’s it.
Adam Morgan: Does that give you some motivation to finish the fight early so it might get shown on the pay per view broadcast?
Josh Koscheck: Well, that always is a positive thing. If you’re on the undercard and you have a good fight then they usually put you on so let’s hope that Dustin and I can put on a good match and have a good showing so we can get put on TV.
Adam Morgan: Are you going to have a lot of family and friends at the event?
Josh Koscheck: Yeah, I’ve got about two hundred people coming. It’s always fun to fight in front of your family and friends so it should be a fun time. It’s always good to have family around at the fight. It relaxes you and it’s fun to perform in front of them just because they’re bigger fans than just your typical UFC fan. They obviously know me very well and I’m family so it’s exciting for them.
Adam Morgan: Yeah, it’s going to sort of be a local battle because you’re from Pennsylvania and Dustin is from Ohio so there should be quite a few fans out to see you guys fight.
Josh Koscheck: Yeah, I hope so. He’s an Ohio boy and I’m a PA boy so it should be a fun fight for the fans.
Adam Morgan: Last time we talked you said you hadn’t seen any film on Hazelett. Have you watched most of his fights by now?
Josh Koscheck: No, I haven’t watched any of his fights. My trainers watch fights and come up with a gameplan and a strategy that we’ll stick to and if that doesn’t work then we’ll go back to what I know best. Right now I think I have a good gameplan, it’s an exciting gameplan, and hopefully I can play it out to a tee and get the victory quick.
Adam Morgan: Does it worry you at all that he’s kind of a guy who likes to work off his back whereas you’re a guy who likes to put people on their back?
Josh Koscheck: Yeah, you know, he’s got pretty good jiu jitsu but I’ve got a lot of good jiu jitsu trainers. Jon Fitch is a brown belt and I’ve been training with him for three good years so I’m gonna be well prepared. Then I obviously have my grappling coach Dave Camarillo, who’s a black belt in jiu jitsu and who I’ve been getting to train a lot with so I’m pretty excited about.
Adam Morgan: Speaking of Fitch, he’s fighting on that same card. What’s the atmosphere like at American Kickboxing Academy when two top guys are training to be on a big card like that, side by side?
Josh Koscheck: That atmosphere’s been crazy. I think there was like 25 fighters at the gym the other day. Gilbert Melendez, Jake Shields was there, I mean there was a ton of guys at our gym training. The Japanese guy that Fitch fought in the UFC, Hironaka, he’s been in town, so has Frankie Edgar, Josh Thomson, Trevor Prangley, Phil Baroni, I mean the list just goes on and on and on. Also Mike Swick, I mean it’s just been a who’s who of mixed martial artists here at the gym the last couple of weeks. The training has been crazy, really, really crazy. There’s been a lot of guys and it’s always nice to be in that kind of company when you’re training for a big fight.
Adam Morgan: What did you think of Mike Swick’s debut at welterweight?
Josh Koscheck: You know, Mike got the win, that’s the most important aspect. He definitely didn’t impress like he did in his last fights but there was a lot of pressure with him coming down to 170, you know, main event on SpikeTV. He had a lot of things going on that he had to deal with. Hopefully his next fight in the UFC will be the old Mike Swick and he’ll be back in rare form knocking people out.
Adam Morgan: Plus, Burkman’s no pushover, either, he’s a strong welterweight, right?
Josh Koscheck: Ehhh, I guess so. No, I like Josh Burkman actually. I’ve done some things with him and I think he’s a good person but I don’t know where he stacks up among the top ten in the welterweight division.
Adam Morgan: I wanted to ask you about a guy who just made his EliteXC debut, Eric Bradley. Eric said that you coached him for a year at Penn State, is that right?
Josh Koscheck: Yeah, I used to coach Eric Bradley when I coached wrestling at Penn State. Bradley’s a good kid and I wish him much success being a wrestler and being someone that I used to coach and train with. I’ve actually trained a little bit of mixed martial arts with him also. I wish him the best of luck. I didn’t get to see how he did because I really don’t watch too much TV.
Adam Morgan: He won a unanimous decision over Mikey Gomez.
Josh Koscheck: Oh, cool. That’s awesome. Another wrestler getting another win. That’s the main thing.
Adam Morgan: So do you think he’s got a lot of potential being a collegiate boxing champion and an All-American NCAA wrestler?
Josh Koscheck: Yeah, definitely. He’s definitely got potential I’m sure he has to get around the right people. If he gets around the right training camp and the right training partners then I’m sure he could be successful.
Adam Morgan: There’s been a lot of talk about contracts and pay in the UFC right now. Are you happy with your current deal?
Josh Koscheck: I’m just gonna say no comment with that and just avoid the question altogether. It’s tough times right now and I’m gonna be coming up for a renegotiation of my contract after this fight. I’ll let my managers do all that. I don’t want to have anything to do with it. That’s why I have an awesome manager, Zinkin.tv, probably one of the best management companies in the world right now in mixed martial arts. I’ll let them handle that and I’m just gonna not comment on it. That’s their job and my job is to fight.
Adam Morgan: Are you still on your Ultimate Fighter contract? And is this the last fight on it?
Josh Koscheck: Yes I am. I’ve fulfilled my nine fights and now there’s just time remaining on the contract but I didn’t just want to sit around for 8 or 9 months so I decided to just fight again.
Adam Morgan: In our last interview you mentioned not liking Matt Hughes. Would you be interested in a fight against him down the line?
Josh Koscheck: Yeah, you know, I think that’s a fight that fans would want to see. He’s supposed to be the best wrestler and on paper I have better credentials, he’s won more championships than me and he’s been a hell of a fighter and it’s a fight that the fans should see. I fought Georges St. Pierre for the number one contender and he beat me and now he just beat Matt Hughes so now that fight makes sense.
Matt Hughes is probably saying “why would I want to fight him, I have nothing to gain,” but he would have a lot to gain from the fight because it would be to see who’s the best wrestler in the welterweight division. I just think it’s a fight that the fans would like to see. I think he’s on his way out and I’m on my way up so I don’t even think he’s going to give me the time of day to step up. The UFC kind of protects him a little bit because he is a nine time champion and they don’t want to see a guy like myself who’s coming off The Ultimate Fighter, who’s been in there, won a couple fights and lost a couple fights beating one of their more well known guys.
Adam Morgan: As always, any sponsors you want to give some play?
Josh Koscheck: Sprawl’s been good to me, I’d like to thank them and definitely Mar Clothing. That’s my own clothing company and we’ve been kicking ass lately. I just want to continue to promote it, get more fighters onboard, and that’s about it.
Adam Morgan: Anything you want to say to your fans at all?
Josh Koscheck: Keep supporting not only myself but all of the UFC fighters. You’re the reason we’re out here fighting hard and trying to kick ass for you guys. The fighters love the support of the fans and I just want to thank all the fans, all the MMA fans in general.