If you're reading this because you want to know what Josh Koscheck
plans on doing once the Octagon door closes at UFC 113
and Paul Daley
comes striding toward him, you can stop right now. The answer isn't in here. Or maybe a better way of putting it is, there are so many different answers in here, it's impossible to know which is the right one. That's just how Koscheck likes it.
Will he stand and strike with Daley, despite the obvious risks? Sure, he says. He could do that.
Will he take him down immediately and try to exploit the Brit's weaker ground game? Yep, that sounds like a good plan too.
The point is, you don't know what Koscheck will try to do from one minute of the fight to the next. Neither does Daley. And this might be Koscheck's biggest advantage going into their No. 1 contender bout in Montreal on Saturday night.
"Am I going to go out there and stand with Paul Daley or am I going to go out there and take him down? That's what you guys are going to have to wait until May 8 to find out," says Koscheck. "I may take him down. I may even let him up. I may knock him out on the feet just to prove a point. You never know. I'm real excited about this fight because it's been a really hard camp, I've been through a lot to get here, and I think I may have a major point to prove against Paul Daley."
You can't blame Koscheck for wanting to keep his game plan close. The more Daley worries about takedowns, the less he can afford to commit to his strikes on the feet. And the less he commits to strikes on the feet, the easier it will be for Koscheck to score with punches.
But it's a dangerous business, looking to prove points in MMA bouts. If Daley taught us anything in his first two UFC fights, it's that every moment you spend standing toe-to-toe with him is a gamble. His ground game may still have holes, but neither Dustin Hazelett
or Martin Kampmann
got the chance to find out before Daley turned their worlds upside down with his punching power.
The smart approach would obviously be for Koscheck to put Daley on his back right away, but the AKA fighter refuses to downplay the merits of his own striking game.
"I'm not saying I'm the best stand-up fighter, but I've got balls and I'll stand toe-to-toe with anybody," Koscheck says. "If they're getting the better of me, guess what? I can always turn that switch, take them down, and pound them out, whereas Paul Daley, he can't. I'm very confident in my stand-up. What I do works for me. It might not be the prettiest and it might not be the best, but it's improved a lot since my wrestling days and I'm happy with the improvement I've made. When I hit people, they fall."
The trouble is, it works the other way as well. Koscheck found that out when he faced Paulo Thiago
in London last year. The first few minutes, Koscheck seemed to be in complete control. One solid uppercut later, he'd suffered his first loss in nearly two years.
"Welcome to MMA. That's all I can say with regards to the past fight with Paulo Thiago," says Koscheck. "Hey, anything can happen, and it happened."
The question is, did he learn anything from it?
Koscheck swears he isn't concerned with any of Daley's mind games or trash talk heading into this fight, and says it isn't going to make him fight any differently once the talk stops and the action begins.
"I've had people talk trash before. At the end of the day he's got to step in there and perform. He's going to look like a real d--- if he goes in there and gets his a-- kicked after talking all that s---."
In order for Daley to avoid that fate, first he has to figure out what Koscheck is going to do. Relatively speaking, that's actually the easy part. What's much harder, as several top UFC welterweights have learned, is stopping it.