(Photo courtesy of Daniel Herbertson Photography.)
Many American fans may only know Yoshiyuki Yoshida as the guy who barely broke a sweat choking out the man now legally known as War Machine back at UFC 84, but on Wednesday the Japanese welterweight enters into his second UFC fight against Josh Koscheck at “Fight for the Troops” on Spike TV. Not only is it a significant step up in level of competition, it’s also bound to be hostile territory for Yoshida, considering he’s facing an American (okay, it’s Koscheck, but still) in front of an audience of American military personnel.
In this exclusive Cage Potato interview, Yoshida (with the help of a translator) talks about what he’s expecting from Koscheck on Wednesday night, and where he sees himself in the UFC’s welterweight division.
CagePotato.com: Thank you for taking the time to talk with us. Against a guy like Koscheck, who’s known for having great wrestling skills and good conditioning, how have you been preparing yourself for this fight?
I began training for this fight about two months ago. I’ve been doing a lot of sparring and running in the mornings, and at night I usually work on my boxing, hitting mitts, and trying to improve my technical skills and my strength. I’m in great shape for this fight, probably the best shape I’ve ever been in, and I’ll be ready for him.
What’s your strategy for dealing with Koscheck’s wrestling ability?
I understand he is a very good wrestler. There is no question about that. I’m not going to try and beat him that way, by outwrestling him. But one of my strengths is my judo, so I plan on using his aggressiveness against him by implementing my judo skills when he looks for a clinch or a takedown.
Since the fight is a benefit for American soldiers, it’s probably safe to say that you will not be the crowd favorite in this one. Does that enter into your mind at all, and what are your feelings on that?