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UFC 106:

Koscheck ready and willing for showdown with Johnson

Despite quick turnaround and recent weigh-in issues for Anthony Johnson, Josh Koscheck avoids distraction, stays confident

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Justin M. Bowen

Josh Koscheck shadow boxes Wednesday during open workouts at Mandalay Bay in preparation for his fight at UFC 106 Saturday where he will take on Anthony Johnson.

UFC 106 News Conference

Josh Koscheck talks about his upcoming bout against Anthony Johnson at a news conference before UFC 106 Thursday, November 19, 2009. Launch slideshow »

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From the way Josh Koscheck makes it sound, his welterweight bout this Saturday at UFC 106 with Anthony Johnson may just come down to who can land the big bomb the fastest.

"I think this is a good fight for the fans," Koscheck said. "You guys gotta know, this fight isn't going to the judging scorecards like the last couple of (big) fights have been in the UFC, with the (Shogun-Machida fight at UFC 104) and then the Randy Couture controversy with (Brandon) Vera.

"This fight isn't going to the judge's scorecards, I can guarantee you that."

At the same time, Koscheck (13-4, 11-4 UFC) knows that standing and trading with Johnson (8-2, 5-2 UFC) could be asking for trouble.

Johnson — no matter how little rest he's had since fighting last, no matter how much he weighs in at — is one of the game's most lethal knockout artists.

"Big-time puncher, those types of guys with long reach and big power, my plan is to stay on the inside and stay away from his punching power," Koscheck said. "There's always a disadvantage to standing in front of somebody and trading punches. This is mixed martial arts, we're wearing four-ounce gloves. With boxing gloves on, yeah, I could stand in front of him all day long and take five, six punches. But with MMA, you can only take one or two, and that's about it. For me, I've just got to use my head movement and be a smart fighter."

Koscheck's elite wrestling background — he was an NCAA Division-I champion at 174 pounds at Edinboro University — and always improving striking ability has him feeling as confident as ever coming into Saturday's event at the Mandalay Bay Events Center.

Then again, he's pretty much confident all of the time, and is well known for it.

"I'm glad he's like that," Johnson said. "I wouldn't want to fight him if he didn't believe he could win. Every fighter believes in themselves, and it should make for a great fight."

Still, Koscheck doesn't want his striking ability to get lost in the mix.

After winning his first fight in the UFC at the first Ultimate Fighter Finale via knockout, his next eight fights ended in either a decision or by submission.

But recent victories over Yoshiyuki Yoshida — by knockout with two brutal rights — and Frank Trigg — TKO at UFC 103 — turned some heads.

"I don't need to knock Anthony Johnson out to know that I'm a good striker and that I've improved in becoming a striker, but I will tell you that this fight will not go to the judge's scorecards — That's a guarantee," Koscheck said. There's too much explosive athleticism from both of us, and this is going to be a fireworks fight.

"You know, I think I've got a couple of knockouts in this game, and I think my stand-up is good. I think my overall game is good. I'm just gonna focus on what I need to do to win."

On Wednesday afternoon at an open workout session, Koscheck spoke in the rawest of fashions when sharing his thoughts on Friday's weigh-in, which will have most in attendance focusing on Johnson more than anyone else.

Johnson's last fight was less than a month ago, with a 41-second knockout victory over Yoshida at UFC 104. However, coming in at 176 pounds for a welterweight fight cost him his entire Knockout of the Night bonus, plus 20 percent of his purse.

If he wants to do so again, Koscheck won't seem to mind.

"You know what? He doesn't even need to make the weight, to be honest with you," he said. "If he wants to come to the weigh-ins at 195, that's fine. I don't give a (expletive). I've still gotta fight him. That just means I get, what, 20 percent of his chicken-(expletive) purse? So, I mean, I'm gonna go take that 20 percent and stick it on blackjack.

"So, for me, it doesn't change anything. If he comes in at 190, I'm still fighting him. I know my good friend Chuck Liddell is going crazy, like 'If he doesn't make weight, we're not fighting him.' I'm like, 'Chuck, are you gonna pay me my purse?' Which he probably would, but for me, I'm still going to fight him regardless. If he makes the weight, then great. If he doesn't, he doesn't."

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