KOSCHECk AKA the blanket taken from ufc.com http://www.ufc.com/index.cfm?fa=news.detail&gid=3882 UFC 42 Sudden Impact DVD By Michael DiSanto Rematches, or even rubber matches, seem to be the dominant theme of recent Ultimate Fighting Championship events. Just a few short nights ago, Georges St. Pierre stopped Matt Hughes to win the UFC Welterweight Championship. It was the second time the two warriors squared off in the Octagon, and it was also the second consecutive rematch for Hughes, who faced BJ Penn at UFC 63, avenging a 2004 loss to the Hawaiian at UFC 46. And that is far from the only example. UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Chuck Liddell has spent his entire (almost) 18-month title reign fighting nothing but rematches. In less than six weeks, for example, he faces Tito Ortiz, hoping to reaffirm his 2004 win over the “Huntington Beach Bad Boy.” What should be the biggest fight in UFC history also happens to be Liddell’s fifth straight rematch--Couture, Horn, Couture again, Sobral and Ortiz. Of course, Tim Sylvia faced Andrei Arlovski three times in less than two years, and Ortiz faced Ken Shamrock three times over four years, including back-to-back fights against the UFC legend this year. So with high-profile rematches seeming like the flavor of the year, fast-rising welterweight contender Josh Koscheck wouldn’t mind getting into the “let’s do it one more time” mix. Less than a month before facing tough Canadian Jeff Joslin at the Ultimate Fight Night on December 13, Kos, as his friends call him, sent a clear message when asked who he wanted to fight in 2007. “Diego Sanchez,” he said without any hesitation. “I don’t like his attitude. He is too cocky. Plus, I think would be a big fight. Hey, I’d pay (UFC matchmaker) Joe Silva money to let me fight Diego Sanchez in my next fight.” Although it doesn’t appear on either fighter’s official record, Koscheck and Sanchez (who faces Joe Riggs in the main event on that same December 13th card), battled it out in the privacy of the Ultimate Training Center during the inaugural season of “The Ultimate Fighter.” “I still laugh about it,” Kos remembers of the six weeks he spent training and fighting on TUF. “It was a joke that I even thought I could compete in the UFC back then. I honestly didn’t know the first thing about fighting. I was a fan, just like anyone else. I thought I could compete because of my wrestling and nothing else, so I showed up for the reality show without ever having trained for a fight at all. I thought I was hot stuff because I was a national champion and a four-time All-American collegiate wrestler. I just assumed I’d kick everyone’s butt. It certainly was a learning process, opening my eyes to how complex the sport really is. Wrestling is great, but you can’t win with just one aspect of the game. You have to have it all.” Regardless of his limited fighting skills at the time, Kos gave Sanchez, who remains undefeated to this day, all that he wanted and then some. But when the smoke cleared, “The Nightmare” won a razor-thin split decision, something that still leaves a bitter taste in his mouth. “He should be embarrassed that he barely beat me when I didn’t know a damn thing [about fighting],” he proclaimed. “I lost to him by split decision on the show in a fight that could have gone either way. Everyday, I live with the fact that he is one up on me. He beat me fairly. But it won’t happen again.” What makes Kos so confident that he would beat Sanchez in a rematch? “His wrestling ability is a D- compared to mine. I’m an A+,” Kos quipped. “You can’t even put us in the same sentence when it comes to wrestling. Diego relies on his wrestling to gain advantage over his opponents. He can’t play that card against me. If we went to the ground, he would be fighting from his back, not from the top position, and he isn’t the same fighter in that scenario. Sure, he is the better submission grappler. But I’ll be dropping elbows on his face when we’re on the ground. We’ll see how good his submission grappling is at that point.” Of course, Kos enjoyed that same wrestling advantage over Sanchez in their first bout. So what has changed? “I’m not the same fighter that I was back then, but he hasn’t improved at all,” he continued. “I bring so many things to the table now. I train so hard in every area of the game. That is why I’m going to pass him in the sport. He is the same old fighter as he was back on the reality show. Trust me, if I get the chance to fight him next, I’ll be the one to put an end to his perfect record. I would knock him out. I have too much power for him. I’m too athletic, too explosive. I just don’t see how he could beat me now. Honestly, I think Diego would be an easy win.” Predicting an easy win over Sanchez is a very bold statement indeed. But Koscheck’s confidence isn’t limited to just his former reality-show mate. “I believe I’m in the top five in the welterweight division” he said. “In my opinion, the division stacks up as follows: Georges St. Pierre, Matt Hughes, BJ Penn, Diego Sanchez and then me. To hell with the top 10, I want to be in the top two in the next couple of fights. I’m not in this sport to pitter-patter around fighting B-level guys. I want to compete against the best. I want to test myself against the best.” A lifelong competitive athlete, Koscheck speaks in earnest when he talks about wanting to be the best in the game. Whether that actually comes to fruition remains to be seen, but he certainly has the work ethic to take himself as far as his own abilities and athleticism will allow. “I don’t like to take any time off after a fight,” he admitted. “I was right back in the gym two days after my last fight. That is how I improve. A lot of guys take a couple of weeks off after a fight. That is when I like to really focus on technique. I slow the game down to learn new things. I take a step back and focus on the fundamentals. That means taking classes with the beginners where I’m just another student trying to learn the game. That is what allows me to improve. I’m a big believer in learning the fundamentals.” That is a refreshing way to approach to the sport, particularly for a guy who has experienced tremendous success so early in his career. Yet, he remains firmly committed to doing whatever it takes to continue his ascent toward an eventual title fight. “My goal is to outwork everyone in the sport,” Kos said. “If I do that, I truly believe that I will be the best fighter in the UFC. I train hard at everything. I’m committed to learning every aspect of the game, which is why I keep improving. It is all about your coaches and training partners, and we have the best in the world at the American Kickboxing Academy. I’m in the game to test myself against the best and to prove to everyone that I’m going to be here for quite a while. Give me Sanchez next and I’ll make a believer out of anyone who doubts that statement.” jesus.... all i gotta say. where does he get off thinking he is in the top 5 WW already ?