("Come on Josh, don’t be pissed at me. I said you’re ‘HALF A DICK,’ not a full on dick.")
Veteran UFC welterweight Phil Baroni stopped by The Bum Rush Radio Show this week and while he was here he gave his thoughts on this weekend’s heavily-anticipated welterweight title bout between his American Kickboxing Academy teammate Josh Koscheck and dominant champion Georges St-Pierre.
Baroni took issue with Ben’s assessment that St-Pierre will be able to take Koscheck down at will en-route to a late submission victory.
"I disagree — not just because we’re friends. Koscheck’s the better wrestler. It’s not gonna come down to striking at all. I don’t think Koscheck needs to land a big shot to win the fight. Koscheck’s a better wrestler. He has a much better pedigree. GSP has a double-leg tackle — that’s about it," Baroni explained. "He’s more of a jiu-jitsu guy and I don’t see him getting on top. Koscheck’s gonna have to control where the fight goes and beat him in a wrestling match. If he does that, he’s gonna win the fight. GSP is mentally weak. He’s a great athlete, he’s got a huge gas tank, he’s strong, he’s fast, but between his ears, there’s a little bit of softness. I think if comes down to a gut-check, Koscheck will take care of him."
Baroni also pointed out that the first time the pair met three years ago at UFC 74, Koscheck won the first round and was taken down after throwing an ill-timed kick.
"[Josh] won a round the first time. He threw a stupid kick and he got taken down off of an inside leg-kick. He’s twice the fighter that he was then. I think it was a bad error on his part," he says. "It is what it is and we’re going to have to wait and see. Anything can happen in a fight, but I don’t think GSP has one-and-done knockout power and Koscheck does, so if they get into a big exchange like that, it’s in Kos’ favor. They’re both in really good shape and cardio’s not an issue."
As far as GSP’s recent training with revered boxing coach Freddie Roach goes, "The New York Badass" says that statistically, fighters who have trained with him haven’t fared very well, so he isn’t sold on the idea that St-Pierre’s boxing will play a factor in the fight.
"All Freddie Roach’s guys have gotten knocked out so far," Phil says, matter-of-factly. "All of the [MMA] guys he’s trained have gotten knocked out, so I wouldn’t be proud about training with that guy."
One observation Phil made about GSP’s demeanor leading up to the fight is that the French-Canadian seems to be over confident.
"I’ll tell you what’s out of the norm [for this fight], GSP’s talked some trash. He’s not doing it in the way that I’ve done it in the past or like Chael Sonnen, but he’s high on himself. He’s sayin’, ‘Guys that do this I beat, guys that talk trash I beat, guys that are wrestlers I beat.’ He’s really confident right now. He’s believing his own hype and he’s believing his own press clippings. I could be wrong, but I have a funny feeling," he says. "I think his camp is all over the place. To many chiefs, not enough indians. We’ll see. We’ll see if he plays it safe. I just don’t think he’s a better wrestler so he might not be able to play it safe. If he does, I’m wrong and I’ll be surprised, but talking the way he is…I mean, he’s not saying, ‘Koscheck’s a douchebag or a Fraggle,’ but he’s basically saying, ‘I beat guys who were wrestlers and guys who talked smack.’ I think he should be worried a little more than he’s worried. Koscheck’s not the ultimate bad guy, he’s the ultimate opponent right now for this guy."
When asked about whether or not the recent assessment by one of Kos’ former college wrestling coaches during the UFC 124 countdown show that his former charge is kind of a dick is an accurate one, Baroni replied in the typical NYBA fashion of pulling no punches while giving a thoughtful evaluation of the situation.
"He’s a douchebag a little bit. He’s half a dick, you know? He’s intense and he does what he’s got to do. He knows this is a business and he’s not here to make friends. That’s just Josh Koscheck. Whatever. I like him. Look where he’s gotten to in the sport right now," Baroni points out. "I’d rather be fighting for the world title and be ranked number two in the world than be the most popular guy. It’s your guys’ job to be popular — you radio show guys and press have fans and people who listen to you. It’s our job to get in the ring and fight and win and I think he’s going to do that."