- Brett Okamoto, ESPN Staff Writer
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Heading into what will be his 25th UFC appearance, Josh Koscheck admits he's got something to prove this weekend -- to himself.
When news broke earlier this month that Koscheck, 37, had agreed to fight fellow welterweight Erick Silva on short notice at UFC Fight Night on Saturday, more than a few eyebrows went up.
Koscheck is on a four-fight skid, including a submission loss to Jake Ellenberger less than three weeks ago in Los Angeles at UFC 184.
It's the kind of skid that makes some question whether he needs to be fighting anymore at all, let alone against an opponent with the offensive weapons that Silva (17-5) has.
Koscheck (17-9) isn't concerned with that kind of talk. He believes things were going well in the Ellenberger fight, until he let a win slip through his fingers. After that disappointment, he wanted a fast turnaround.
"I feel I have to prove something to myself," Koscheck told ESPN.com. "I believe my skills are better than they've ever been and I need to prove that. I've got more inside me that I want to get out. Come fight night you guys are going to see an exciting fight. I'm going to get in this guy's face and make this a dirty fight.
"I don't feel like there's any pressure as far as, I have to go out and do something spectacular to save my career. I know I've had a good career. I don't have anything to prove to anybody, but I have something to prove to myself and at the end of the day, that's what is important to me right now."
Koscheck has long stated a desire to finish out his current UFC contract, which he'll do this weekend in Rio de Janeiro.
He says he isn't sure, win or lose, whether he'll end his 11-year professional career after this fight.
Physically, he says he's still ready to compete. It can be a slippery slope when an aging fighter pursues that one final win at all costs, but Koscheck believes that right now, that doesn't describe him.
His game plan in the Ellenberger loss last month was working, Koscheck said, until he "relaxed" in the second round. For what it's worth, all three judges scoring the fight awarded the first round to Koscheck.
"Nah, I don't think so," said Koscheck, when asked if this recent skid suggests he should hang up his gloves. "I've had a good, long career and I haven't taken too many big, big shots. Other than the [Tyron] Woodley fight -- he and I were slinging some leather. Other than that, I don't think anything of that nature fits me right now.
"I felt good in my last fight. I was sticking to the game plan. I felt I was doing everything my coaches wanted me to do and it looked like Ellenberger was getting tired in the second round. I got a little conservative and relaxed in that second round and in this sport, you can let your guard down for one second and bad things will happen. I made an amateur mistake and it cost me."
Koscheck even stated he wouldn't be opposed to fighting in another organization besides the UFC, should he and the promotion not agree on his future after this weekend. A contestant on the first season of "The Ultimate Fighter" reality series, all but two of Koscheck's 26 professional bouts have come inside the Octagon.
"I'm open to fighting anywhere to be honest with you," Koscheck said. "I'm about business. Not only do I love to compete, but I'm a businessman in this. But I have to be hungry to want to fight and right now, I'm not focused on any of that. I'm focused on one day at a time and Josh Koscheck needs to get a win very badly."
While he isn't prepared to speak in concrete terms about his own future, Koscheck once again spoke about the need for pension plans for aging fighters -- something he also discussed prior to UFC 184.
Based out of Fresno, California, Koscheck says he has multiple investments outside of the cage that essentially ensure his financial success, but says others aren't as fortunate as he is.
"At the end of the day, there is no pension plan in the UFC and all these fighters are going to be struggling when it's over," Koscheck said. "I believe things needs to change in this sport, so all fighters have an opportunity to have a retirement fund they can rely on and not have to live in the moment, saying, 'Oh my God, is $5,000 and $5,000 going to be enough for me to make it in the future?'
"I think we could be there tomorrow, it just depends on the fighters. The circus is going to go on. I think fighters need to come together and need people looking out after them. Hopefully things will change."
Perhaps that's a fight Koscheck will join someday, but right now, for better or worse, Koscheck is still focused on the fights that take place in a cage. On Saturday, he will seek his first win in more than three years.
"I'm prepared to go out there and put it on the line, like I've always done," Koscheck said. "Whether it be in the first round or the third, I have to find a way to win this fight and I believe I will do that.