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Josh Koscheck, Mike Pierce at UFC 143

Welterweight contender Josh Koscheck isn't taking any shortcuts in his quest to land another title shot.

Koscheck (16-5) will face Mike Pierce on Feb. 4 at UFC 143 in Las Vegas, the promotion announced Thursday night on its website.

"With Carlos Condit moving to face Nick Diaz for the interim welterweight championship, it will be powerhouse wrestler vs. powerhouse wrestler as Mike Pierce takes on Josh Koscheck," UFC president Dana White said.

The fight will be Koscheck's second since his lopsided unanimous decision title loss to welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre in December 2010. Koscheck rebounded at UFC 135 in September with a first-round knockout of former welterweight titleholder Matt Hughes.

Koscheck was scheduled to fight Condit and St. Pierre was slated to defend his belt against Diaz at UFC 143. However, St. Pierre injured an ACL and had to withdraw from the card.

As a result, Condit will fight Diaz in the UFC 143 main event. This left Koscheck without an opponent.

"I'm (still) fighting Feb. 4," Koscheck said on Twitter. "I just asked UFC if I can fight (at) 185."

Koscheck's request to move up was denied; Pierce was later offered the fight.

Pierce (13-4) is coming off a split decision victory Nov. 12 over Paul Bradley. He has won four of his five most recent fights.

While taking on Koscheck represents a step up in competition for Pierce, it is a fight he lobbied hard to land. He expressed excitement once the bout was made official.

"It's on!" Pierce said on Twitter. "(Koscheck) tried wiggling out of this one too, but Feb. 4 he's mine."

Bantamweight contenders Renan Barao and Scott Jorgensen will also meet at UFC 143.

Barao (27-1) is ranked fourth among ESPN.com bantamweights; Jorgensen (13-4) is No. 5.


Franklin McNeil covers mixed martial arts and boxing for ESPN.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/Franklin_McNeil.