Print and Go Back ESPN.com: MMA [Print without images]

Thursday, February 2, 2012
'Gold-digger' Koscheck to make Pierce pay

By Franklin McNeil

Josh Koscheck
A stretch? Perhaps: Josh Koscheck maintains he doesn't know all that much about Mike Pierce.
UFC president Dana White said last week in Chicago that welterweight Josh Koscheck was the promotion’s most hated fighter.

“Let’s be honest here, [Michael] Bisping is probably, other than Koscheck, the most hated guy in the UFC,” White said on Jan. 26. “You’ve got to give the award to Koscheck.

“I’ve never seen one guy clapping, in an entire arena, when Josh Koscheck walks out.”

That’s a bold statement, especially when taking into account that former light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans as middleweight contenders Chael Sonnen and Michael Bisping were set to compete two days later at United Center in the UFC on Fox 2 co-feature bout. No one would describe Evans, Sonnen or Bisping as fan favorites.

But regardless where Koscheck ranks on the UFC’s most-hated list, he is unfazed by fan opinion of him. Koscheck is not in the MMA business to make friends or win popularity contests. His priority is to get paid. And when offered a chance to compete Saturday night at UFC 143 in Las Vegas, Koscheck didn’t respond by asking who does the promotion want him to fight.

As long as the check clears, Koscheck is eager to put on the gloves and face anyone.

For the record, Koscheck will fight Mike Pierce on Saturday, and he is confident of adding another win to his professional ledger.

“I didn’t really know who this guy was when I agreed to fight him,” said Koscheck, who will carry a record of 16-5 into the Octagon. “I remember he fought [my teammate] Jon Fitch, but not too well. I think I remember [in] that fight, he didn’t get anything going until the very last minute.
Jon Fitch
Mike Pierce, front, launched a late assault on Jon Fitch -- but it was too little, too late.

“I know he called me out, so he must think he can win ... but they all think that until I punch them in the face.

“But I get paid the same whether I am fighting Mike Pierce or Carlos Condit, so I don’t care who I fight. I am a gold digger, I fight for money. ... I have a big mouth and I don’t want to lose and I want to look good out there.”

Pierce (13-4) will likely rely on his wrestling skills to prevent Koscheck from looking good Saturday night, but he also intends to surprise the MMA world by upsetting the highly ranked welterweight contender.

Beating Koscheck, who is also a highly skilled wrestler, would be the biggest accomplishment to date in Pierce’s professional career. It would also be his most emotionally satisfying win.

“Josh Koscheck knows who I am,” Pierce said. “He’s pretending he doesn’t because he is Josh Koscheck and that’s what he does: he acts like this all the time. He's a bit of a jerk and that’s his personality and that’s just who he is, and what gets him noticed.

“I hope he is overlooking me because Jon Fitch beat me. That was two years ago and I am a much better fighter now and, for that fight, I had a family issue to take care of which distracted me.

Pierce feels Koscheck's pretending not to know him or to be taking him lightly is purely schtick.

“I hope Josh Koscheck is underestimating me," Pierce said. "But I doubt it.”