BY Jeff Cain
Before the Spike TV original program, The Ultimate Fighter, many people may not of even heard of Josh Koscheck. He became a Mixed Martial Arts household name when he eliminated Chris Leben from the show in one of the most anticipated matches of the first season.
Koscheck spoke with MMAWeekly about his training, his wrestling background, and his upcoming bout August 6th, live on Spike TV, against UFC veteran Pete “The Secret Weapon” Spratt. Sixteen fighters in sixteen days continues to count down to the August 6th Ultimate Fight Night event with Josh Koscheck.
Josh Koscheck may not have been well known throughout the MMA community before the airing of the reality show, but those who follow collegiate wrestling knew exactly who Koscheck was. Asked about his wrestling background, Josh said, “I had some good coaches around me. I wasn’t very good actually in high school. I think I was a state runner-up in high school…I was going to go to college and play football, and I decided to wrestle. Pretty much went to college in Edinboro, and basically got around some good coaches that knew what the hell they were doing, and basically turned me into a pretty good wrestler.”
Referring to himself as, “a pretty good wrestler,” was Josh being modest. His accomplishments include being a four-time NCAA Division 1 All American, and in 2001 was the NCAA Division 1, 174lb. National Champion. I’d say that’s a notch better than “a pretty good wrestler.”
Koscheck was questioned how his game has evolved since being on The Ultimate Fighter. He replied, “On the TV show I didn’t really know anything about fighting. You know? I didn’t train fighting. I didn’t do anything prior to that, so the only training that I really had in MMA was from the beginning of the TV show to the end of the TV show, and over the last six months, you know, I’ve been at AKA just about everyday, and I’ve improved tremendous I think on my ground game, my stand up game, every aspect of my game. I want to get my game to where, you know, 50%, 50%, so I was trying very, very hard. I’m working very hard on all aspects of my game.”
As he mentioned, Josh trains at American Kickboxing Academy in San Jose. Questioned more about his affiliation with AKA, Koscheck said, “Every since I’ve gotten into the sport I’ve been with them, but I really haven’t lived here. Now I’m a resident of California, so I kind of, you know, I’m here pretty often.”
Further commenting on his training at AKA, “I spar with Trevor Prangley, Josh Thomson, and Cung Le. I don’t know if you guys know him. He’s a K-1 fighter. He just switched over to MMA…I get to his gym quite often, and I spar a lot with him and his guys, so I get to see good kickboxers, and that’s the kind of nice thing about having AKA and the people that I’m around. I get to see good fighters, and it’s a good look for me when I get to spar with Cung Le and those guys over there because it’s going to give me something similar to what Pete Spratt’s going to do.” Josh told MMAWeekly.
Pete Spratt’s a tough test for Josh Koscheck. It’s a classic match up of conflicting styles. Asked about his opponent, Koscheck said, “He throws a lot of high kicks. He has very good hands, and Pete Spratt’s an athlete. He’s a good fighter, and it’s going to be an honor for me to be in there and fight him. I think that he’s got a good name, and if I can beat Pete Spratt, that’s going to look good for me.”
Discussing the up coming bout, Josh commented, “It’s a fight you know, so things can go any way in a fight, but I have a game plan, and my game plan is to get out there, and you know, obviously Pete Spratt’s a very good striker, and I’m a wrestler, so my game plan is to get him to the ground, and work on the ground and try to submit him, or ground and pound.”
Josh added, “It’s a fight, so if I can’t take Pete Spratt down then I have no other option. I have to stand. You know? I’ve worked really hard on my stand up. I feel comfortable on my feet. Where ever the fight goes, I guess that’s where we’ve got to do it…I don’t have a problem being on my back. I can guarantee that if I’m on my back there could be some submissions coming from my back…I’ve been training hard with Mike Swick, from the show, Bobby Southworth, Trevor Prangley’s been in town for a month, you know, Josh Thomson. I have some great training partners. I’m not afraid to take this fight anywhere. If I get into a position that I’m normally not in, I’m ready to do something that I need to do to get out.”
Koscheck’s prediction for the fight was, “I’d like to see it my way. I think that I can win this fight. It’s a wonderful fight for me. I think that I have the skills to finish people on the ground now, and that’s the way I see the fight going…I hope it would be in the first round. You know take him down and submit him quick, or ground and pound him quick, but you know Pete’s a tough guy. He’s got a lot of heart, and he’s a respectable fighter. I prepare for 25-30 minute fights, so if it has to go 15 minutes then it has to go 15 minutes, but I’d like to see it get done early if I could.”
It was a very humble Josh Koscheck that spoke with MMAWeekly recently, a sharp contrast to the way he was portrayed on the reality show. I guess that goes to show that you can’t believe everything you see on television, unless it takes place inside the octagon.