When Josh Koscheck was hinting around at moving up for a "special" fight at middleweight over the past month or so, it was confusing to say the least.
Why would only move up for one fight? Why leave the welterweight division, where he had just lost his first ever title shot? Why not try to work his way back?
As it turns out, it wasn't necessarily about fighting at 185-pounds so much as he wasn't particularly enthralled by the match-ups offered to him at 170-pounds. He blogged about it at Sportsnet.ca:
"You probably saw that I was considering going to middleweight, and the reason I wanted to fight at middleweight was everyone at 170-pounds who meant anything was already locked up with a fight. To be honest, and mentioning no names, the people the UFC wanted me to fight just didn't interest me at all. The names they offered me were just 'paydays' -- fights to get on a card and have a fight, take a shower get a payday and go home and I don't want to fight those guys."
"After the GSP fight, I needed to come back and remind everyone what I am all about and if I couldn't do that at 170 pounds I figured maybe as a one-off just to have a major fight to come back with, I'd take a fight at 185-pounds. Realistically, I asked to fight Wanderlei Silva, Chris Leben and even Rich Franklin at 185. But then last week I got word Matt Hughes, who has avoided me for years, needed an opponent for UFC 135 in Denver on Sept. 24. I've called out Hughes for so long but he's always avoided me. When he was on top and one of the top in the division, he used his position to avoid fighting me and all the AKA guys. But when Diego Sanchez pulled out hurt with three weeks to go, I knew the UFC would have no choice but to try to talk Hughes into fighting me. Like I knew he would, he tried to suggest fighting Jon Fitch instead, knowing full well Fitch is still recovering from shoulder surgery. I tweeted that I'd accepted the fight and was ready, just to put pressure on Hughes to quit bitching and take the fight. I wanted to make it so that if he did turn the fight down, all the fans would know that he bitched out. He had nowhere else to go and I've finally got my fight with Matt Hughes."
Can you imagine? Josh Koscheck vs. Wanderlei Silva? Oh my.
As "Kos" explains, though, all this talk became unnecessary when Diego Sanchez suffered a hand injury that forced him out of his UFC 135 co-main event bout against Matt Hughes.
And we all know who executives at UFC go to when they're in a welterweight pinch.
Koscheck accepted in about a half a second and put the pressure on Hughes to do the same by playing the social media game. The former welterweight king eventually said yes and in just under two weeks, these two 170-pound wrestlers will hit the mats at the Pepsi Center.
All due respect to Hughes, how many Maniacs would have rather seen Koscheck vs. Silva? Or even Koscheck vs. Leben or Franklin?