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UFC 106:

If no title shot, Josh Koscheck wants another fight soon

Unable to move past Dan Hardy, Koscheck wants another opportunity to prove himself

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Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

Josh Koscheck reacts to the crowd after choking out Anthony Johnson during UFC 106 Saturday, November 21, 2009 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center.

Koscheck vs Johnson

In the co-main event of UFC 106, Josh Koscheck tried to prove that he is worthy of welterweight top status after choking out Anthony Johnson Saturday night.

UFC 106

Forrest Griffin, left, and Tito Ortiz embrace following their light heavyweight bout during UFC 106 Saturday, November 21, 2009 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center. Griffin won the bout by split decision. Launch slideshow »
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Las Vegas Sun boxing/MMA writer Brett Okamoto talks with fellow sports writer Ryan Greene and videographer Christine Killimayer about what they thought of the fights at UFC 106 at Mandalay Bay Events Center on Saturday.

Following his highlight-reel finish of Anthony Johnson by a second-round submission, Josh Koscheck got on the microphone and argued he should be next to receive the next title shot at welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre.

Problem: The UFC had already announced that Dan Hardy would be the next challenge to St. Pierre’s throne.

Can’t blame a guy for trying.

“I had thought about doing it before I got out there,” said Koscheck, on his decision to call out Hardy who was sitting ringside. “But obviously the UFC has plans for him to fight St. Pierre and I’m not concerned with that.

“A title shot for me isn’t going to happen so I’m just going to keep fighting.”

Hardy was less than cordial in his responses to Koscheck’s outburst. Hardy dismissed the fighter as being inconsistent and made crying gestures towards the Octagon while he plead his case.

“The thing about Josh Koscheck is that he’s got a lot of potential but he’s inconsistent,” Hardy said. “He’s kind of like a (expletive) that won’t flush away. He’ll lose a fight and then come back. I guess I don’t mind, I never get sick of seeing that guy get punched in the face.”

Hardy, who has never been known to back down from a bit of trash-talk, was likely just defending what’s his — a title shot that he earned by defeating all four opponents he’s faced in the UFC.

While the Brit’s description of Koscheck was maybe a little harsh, he may have a point.

Prior to Saturday, Koscheck had lost two of his last four fights and has already lost to St. Pierre once in his career.

Koscheck actually is quick to admit this and says that his current focus is improving his striking skills while fighting as much as the UFC will allow him.

“Right now, I’m concerned with getting back into the gym and improving,” Koscheck said. “If I’m not fighting St. Pierre, then let’s line them up. I already told (UFC matchmaker) Joe Silva I want 10-to-12 fights next year.

“I’d rather be out there entertaining than in the gym. Hopefully I can get on a five or six-fight win streak and they’ll think I’m ready for the title.”

With the kind of night Koscheck had on Saturday, it’s no wonder he’s ready to fight as much as possible.

Despite an unfortunate three breaks in the action due to inadvertent eye pokes, Koscheck’s fight with Johnson earned him $70,000 bonuses each with Fight of the Night and Submission of the Night honors.

UFC president Dana White, who has clashed with Koscheck on matters outside of the Octagon before, said he was most impressed with Koscheck’s willingness to continue fighting and push the tempo after getting poked in the eye the first time.

“There was clearly an eye poke. After Johnson threw the illegal knee you could see on the replay the knee missed but Johnson’s pinkie went into his eye,” White said. “When the doctor came out to look, Koscheck could barely keep his eye open but he said, ‘I want to fight.’

“He got his eye to where he could continue and as soon as the fight started, he went after it and started dominating the round.”

According to Koscheck, there are only about two or three welterweights that stand a decent chance at taking St. Pierre’s belt.

Although Koscheck admitted to liking to Hardy’s style of fighting and energetic approach, he didn’t include the Brit’s name as a likely threat to knock off the champion.

After watching Saturday’s fight, Hardy said that maybe it wasn’t a bad thing that Koscheck called for him.

It might just be a little bit too soon.

“Hopefully I’ll get to fight Koscheck in the future,” he said. “And it will be a title defense when I’m doing it.”

Brett Okamoto can be reached at 948-7817 or [email protected].

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