No fighter ever wants to taste defeat, but sometimes it can be a very valuable learning lesson.
For UFC featherweight Erik Koch, however, it was a loss that really just got under his skin and irritated him like a bad rash. That defeat came at the hands of the current top contender in the division Chad Mendes in Koch’s second fight when he was in the WEC.
Koch ended up on the wrong end of a unanimous decision, but the feeling that he had that night is something he never wants to feel again.
“It lit a fire,” Koch told MMAWeekly Radio about the loss to Mendes. “When you have that undefeated record you kind of play it safe because you don’t want to lose. You don’t know what it’s like to lose. When you do lose, all it did to me was make me really, really angry.
“I want to go in there and not only do I not want to go to decision and not get booed in fights, I want to put on good, exciting fights, and I want to dominate them.”
Dominating is a good way to describe what Koch has been doing lately. His last two performances have earned him ‘Knockout of the Night’ honors with one in the WEC and his debut fight in the UFC in March.
Now the Duke Roufus trained fighter will try to make it three in a row when he faces former ‘Ultimate Fighter’ winner Jonathan Brookins this weekend at UFC Fight Night 25 in New Orleans.
While the rankings say that Koch is a top ten fighter and Brookins isn’t, the Milwaukee based featherweight is looking at this as a chance to topple a bigger name than himself.
“It’s a good fight for me. He’s got a lot of exposure from the show. The not-so-diehard fans, the normal MMA fans know who he is from ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ and I mean the guy’s still a tough guy,” Koch said about Brookins.
Koch’s job on Saturday night is to fight and beat Jonathan Brookins, but he also knows that to get the attention of UFC president Dana White along with matchmakers Joe Silva and Sean Shelby, he has to do more than simply win. He wants to smash Jonathan Brookins and finish him during their fight to send notice to the rest of the featherweight division that Erik Koch has arrived, and he wants to be the best fighter in the weight class.
“I don’t want to win by decision and not do much damage. A fight’s a fight to me. I want to go in there and do as much damage as I possibly can,” Koch stated.
“We’re all not just here to fight and put on a show. I definitely want to do that, but at the same time it’s my dream to be a champion. That’s definitely what I’m going for is that gold strap. No matter what if they offered me a title shot against (Jose) Aldo, I’d take it right away. That’s just who I am, the type of person I am, I definitely think I’m already in the contender’s status.”
Koch is ready to take another step up that ladder and the next rung has the name Jonathan Brookins attached to it.
“I definitely think if I beat Brookins decisively, I should be in the top five,” Koch stated.
He’ll get the chance to prove that and maybe take home another bonus along the way when Koch faces Brookins on the main card of UFC Fight Night 25 this weekend.