A second chance is all some people need, and Josh Koscheck feels that way heading into the UFC 124 title bout against Georges St-Pierre on Dec. 11 in the Canadian’s backyard at the Bell Centre in Montreal.
St-Pierre defeated Koscheck by unanimous decision in August of 2007 in the UFC 74 main event, but the American Kickboxing Academy trained Koscheck underestimated his opponent and believes he fell short due to game plan.
“I think the first time me and Georges faced off, I think mentally I was all ‘this guy is a karate guy.’ I didn’t believe he could possibly take me down. I didn’t think that was an option. Throughout my camp my mental game was work on my stand-up, work on my stand-up, because this guy isn’t going to be able to take me down,” Koscheck said recently.
The four-time NCAA Division I wrestling All-American has improved over the three years since the loss to St-Pierre, but so has his opponent.
“One of the things about Georges St-Pierre is he’s a fast learner,” said Koscheck. “There’s definitely a lot more to it than wrestling. And that’s something I’ve learned over the past couple of years is it’s just not wrestling, I gotta become a complete fighter.
“I think I’ve become a better fighter than the first time Georges fought me.”
Koscheck knows heading into the rematch something he didn’t know when they first faced each other: St-Pierre is not just a striker; he can wrestle.
Armed with the knowledge of the past, Koscheck plans to nullify the titleholder’s grappling and force a stand-up battle, where he plans to win by knockout.
“I’m coming here well prepared. I’m gonna be ready to come in here and put on a good show and come out with a victory. My goal coming into this fight is definitely to knock Georges out,” said Koscheck.
He is used to playing the villain role, which he surely will on Dec. 11, and relishes the opportunity to anger an arena full of St-Pierre fans.
“They’re gonna be yelling for Georges and my goal is to piss 22,000 people off and come out of here with a nice new shiny belt and hop on a plane and get home as quickly as I can.”