Number one UFC welterweight contender Josh Koscheck has a tall order in front of him, as he will be taking on dominant champion Georges St. Pierre in the main event of UFC 124 tonight. The hype for the fight has been growing for the last few months, as the two appeared opposite one another as coaches on the latest season of The Ultimate Fighter.
Koscheck has played his usual role of the heel leading up to his rematch (St. Pierre defeated Koscheck via unanimous decision back in August of 2007) with St. Pierre and, during time spent as opposing coaches on the currently airing season of The Ultimate Fighter, Koscheck has done enough to ruffle St. Pierre’s feathers.
“I think I have [gotten into St. Pierre’s head]. Georges has lot of pressure in this fight. He’s fighting in front of his home fans,” said Koscheck at Thursday’s pre-fight press conference. “There is no pressure on me. I’m going to come out and have fun like always do, and I’m ready to fight for 25 minutes.”
In their first meeting, GSP earned a hard-fought unanimous decision against the versatile Koscheck at UFC 74 in 2007. Koscheck won the first round of the fight, and remains the last man to take a round from GSP. St-Pierre went on to dominate the final two rounds with his grappling, an area where Koscheck usually enjoys the advantage against his opponents. St-Pierre enlisted the services of renowned boxing coach Freddie Roach to assist on his striking this time around.
“Georges won our fight fair and square,” Koscheck admitted. “I have no excuses. He beat me. It’s been three years, and I’m not same fighter I was in 2007. Every time I step into Octagon, I improve. I’m coming out to finish this fight. That’s my plan. I think he really believes he’s going to knock me out. I hope he tries that.”
Koscheck infamously antagonized the crowd at the Bell Centre after his dominant win over Paul Daley this past May to earn the title shot this Saturday. Koscheck knows that he won’t receive a hero’s welcome this Saturday night due to his exaggerated heel persona, and is fine with playing the bad guy.
“I’m a bad guy. What can I say? Apparently that’s what everyone believes, so I might as well go with it,” he said. “I’m here to win fights and make money. This is a business, and I’m doing my job by hyping the fight. If I’ve got to piss off 23,000 people, I’m going to do it. I enjoy what I do.”
UFC President Dana White chimed in and joked that Koscheck wasn’t an actual bad guy, but rather a “d–k.” Koscheck quickly interjected to correct his boss.
“I’m a prick, not a d–k, Dana.”
UFC 124: St. Pierre vs. Koscheck II goes down tonight at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Check back with us for live, round by round coverage.
Thanks to Mark Wayne for contributing to this article.