Ready to 'Rumble' II: Josh Koscheck UFC 106 interview exclusive with MMAmania.com

Josh Koscheck is a man people love to hate.

At this point it's safe to say he's embraced his role as the bad guy and continues to use it to fuel his fire.

Baseball Hall-of-Famer Reggie Jackson once said, "Fans don't boo nobodies," and that statement rings true with regards to Koscheck as well.

"Kos" is a legitimate top ten welterweight contender and has been for some time. Lately, however, he's been on a bit of a roller coaster going 2 - 2 in his last four fights and alternating wins and losses.

Most recently he registered a first round knockout of Frank Trigg at UFC 103. The UFC then scheduled him to fight Mike Pierce at UFC Fight Night 20 on January 11, 2010, but as it turns out, it was only a temporary matchup.

When a couple high profile fights dropped like flies off the upcoming UFC 106 card an opportunity presented itself and he jumped at the chance to face up-and-comer Anthony "Rumble" Johnson in the co-main event.

A win could have him knocking on the door of a potential title shot, but it will certainly not come easy.

Koscheck took some time out of his busy schedule to discuss calling out Matt Hughes, Josh Thomson's conflict of interest, and all things Anthony Johnson.

Check it out:

Derek Bolender (MMAmania.com): I wanted to start off getting your thoughts on Mike Swick's fight at UFC 105 with Dan Hardy. What did you think about how the fight played out and what went wrong for Mike?

Josh Koscheck: I really would prefer to not answer any questions about that right now. I haven't really got to speak directly with Mike Swick. I'm focused on my fight and would prefer to keep the focus on that.

Derek Bolender (MMAmania.com): A lot has been made recently about the so-called "feud" between you and Matt Hughes. What originally made you call him out after you beat Frank Trigg? It seemed like it kind of came out of left field at the time.

Josh Koscheck: I've been trying to get that fight for a number of years now. Probably three years. He just doesn't want to fight me. I called him out. Usually when people call you out and talk shit usually you step up and say, "Yeah, I'll fight the guy." Apparently he doesn't want to fight me so I guess it's almost pointless for us to even talk about Matt Hughes. (laughs)

Derek Bolender (MMAmania.com): You were scheduled to face Mike Pierce in January so how did your fight with Anthony Johnson come about?

Josh Koscheck: I heard the UFC 106 card was in need of some fighters. I had my management call the UFC and let them know I'd fight whoever, just get me an opponent and I'll fight. Management put it in their ear and they said, "Yeah, that's a great idea. How about co-main event against Anthony Johnson?" I said, "Okay done deal."

Derek Bolender (MMAmania.com): It seems like you are a lot more active than most guys and never hesitate to jump at a fight even on short notice. You're one of the few who does this repeatedly. Do you get antsy after a few consecutive weeks of training? What is your mindset?

Josh Koscheck: I'm always training. I'm two or three weeks away from being in great shape always. My mindset is if I want to make money I need to be fighting. If I want to get a title shot I need to be fighting. Basically, I need to be in the cage. If I'm just sitting around waiting there is no opportunity for me to take those next steps.

Derek Bolender (MMAmania.com): Strikeforce champion Josh Thomson trains at AKA with you but is also a coach and good friend of Anthony Johnson. Is that a conflict of interest? What do you think about this situation?

Josh Koscheck: I won't throw him under the bus, but he's been my training partner for five years now. He's been my friend. I actually live with him right now. I knew that he was training Anthony Johnson prior to this fight. He's not training him right now. Josh can do what he wants in his free time, but out of respect for me he said he wasn't going to train him.

Derek Bolender (MMAmania.com): What is Johnson's biggest strength in your opinion?

Josh Koscheck: I think he's got some power in his punches. I think that's his biggest strength. I think the UFC did a very good job of building him and almost babying him. He hasn't really fought anybody yet in the UFC. This will be his first test. We're going to see how mentally tough this kid is and if he has the heart to be a champion.

Derek Bolender (MMAmania.com): Do you feel any pressure to stand up and bang with him and make it exciting for the fans?

Josh Koscheck: I don't feel any pressure at all in my fights. I can just tell you this fight won't go to a decision.

Derek Bolender (MMAmania.com): We don't really know what kind of ground game Johnson has because he hasn't really needed it yet. Is that an area you're going to try to exploit?

Josh Koscheck: Like I said, I don't talk too much game plan. I'm just going to let you known that this fight won't go to the judges.

Derek Bolender (MMAmania.com): Are you going to plan on continuing to call out Hughes going forward? If you beat Johnson are you going to call him out again until he takes the fight?

Josh Koscheck: He's not going to take the fight. He doesn't want to fight me. The UFC must feel bad for him. They just want to continue to give him easy fights and let him retire with a winning record or in a winning way or whatever. For me, I don't care who I fight. I don't care where I fight. I don't care how often I fight. My goal next year is to fight twelve times.

Derek Bolender (MMAmania.com): I actually spoke with Johnson last night and I asked him what would happen if he ends up on his back at any point in the fight. He told me, "I can do enough to survive. I'm not a black belt or anything like that. I don't want to submit you. I know how to hold on to you and have the ref stand us up, let's put it that way." Your thoughts on this statement?

Josh Koscheck: (laughs) That's funny! He's going to hold on and let the ref stand us up? That's cool, whatever. If we end up on the ground that's not a good philosophy. I've trained with Anthony. I know what he has on the ground. I know he's a part time fighter. He's not training year round like me. I know his jiu-jitsu coach that teaches there (at Cung Le's gym), Paul Schreiner. He's never been to one jiu-jitsu class since Schreiner, who is a black belt in jiu-jitsu, has been there.

I'm not concerned to fight this fight on the feet. I'm not concerned to fight this fight on the ground to be honest with you. It depends on how I feel on Saturday night when I'm in the locker room warming up. Then I'll make the decision as to where I'll fight.

Derek Bolender (MMAmania.com): Johnson also told me he was at 185 pounds last night and is comfortably in line to make the cut. How is your weight by the way? What are you at right now?

Josh Koscheck: I woke up this morning at 181 pounds. I think I'm on track. I've never had a weight issue. I'm a little bit mentally tougher than that to puss out and not make weight.

Derek Bolender (MMAmania.com): What happens if Johnson comes in at 175 or 176 pounds on Friday?

Josh Koscheck: That's not going to change my philosophy. I'm still going to beat his ass. I'm going on with the fight. I don't care if he makes weight or he doesn't make weight. That's not up to me. That's up to him. At the end of the day I'm here to fight. If he doesn't make weight he's still going to get beat down.

Derek Bolender (MMAmania.com): You're one of the few guys that have taken Georges St. Pierre to a decision. How much have you improved since you fought him and do you feel like things would go differently in a rematch?

Josh Koscheck: I'm not really, obviously, thinking about that right now. After Saturday night if I'm not fighting St. Pierre next I'll call people up and I'll fight every three weeks. I'll have three weeks of training and then I'll fight every month next year. That's the plan. If I'm not fighting him next then line them up and let me fight twelve people so I can make some real money and then I'll fight St. Pierre.

Derek Bolender (MMAmania.com): Anything you'd like to pass along to your fans out there or any sponsors you would like to thank at this time?

Josh Koscheck: They can check me out on Twitter, @JoshKoscheck. All my sponsors. I plug them on my Twitter page so it's all good.

Derek Bolender (MMAmania.com): Josh, I appreciate the time. Good luck on Saturday.

Josh Koscheck: Alright, thank you.

Derek Bolender is a contributor to MMAmania.com, CBSSports.com, FoxSports.com, and BleacherReport.com. Follow him at Twitter.com/DerekMMAwriter and Facebook.com/Derek.Bolender.

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