(Kos, rockin’ the “Skullburst Burnout.”)
Josh Koscheck has been one of the UFC’s most prominent figures since the first season of The Ultimate Fighter, where he beat Chris Leben but was defeated by the show’s eventual middleweight winner, Diego Sanchez. After leaving the show, he became a mainstay in the UFC’s welterweight division, using his background as a Division I college wrestling champion to knock off guys like Dave Menne, Jonathan Goulet, and Sanchez in a hotly anticipated rematch. Though he seemed like an imminent contender for the 170-pound belt, a frustrating decision loss against Georges St. Pierre at UFC 74 sent him to the back of the line. On Saturday he continues his quest for re-ascension, taking on TUF 4 finalist Chris Lytle. We caught up to Josh after one of his final training sessions in preparation for UFC 86, and shot the shit about fighter pay, “The Nightmare,” and his secret life as a t-shirt mogul.
CagePotato.com: Not to take anything away from Chris Lytle, but he has a losing record in the UFC. Do you feel like you should be fighting a higher-ranked welterweight at this point?
Josh Koscheck: No. After my loss to Georges St. Pierre I have to work my way back up through the ranks. In order to be the #1 contender you have to beat whoever they put in front of you, and that’s my plan.
What part of Lytle’s game are you most concerned about?
I don’t really know too much about him, I just know he’s pretty good on his feet and he’s got pretty good jiu-jitsu. My concerns are myself — coming in prepared, which I definitely am, and taking the opportunity to get the job done.
This is the first fight on your new UFC contract extension. Would you say you’re getting paid what you deserve now?
I don’t know that answer; that’s up to my managers. My job is to train and fight. My managers got me the contract so I guess that’s what I deserve right now. Obviously, it’s human nature to want more money. You probably want more money to interview me today. But it’s just a matter of time. Yeah, UFC fighters deserve a lot more money, and it’s coming. The sport’s growing, and as the UFC brand grows, the fighters will make more money.
Do you have any interest in fighting Diego Sanchez again? Your last fight with him was called into question because he was supposedly suffering from a staph infection at the time. Do you feel the need to prove it was a legitimate win?