UFC 124 Fight Card: What Georges St-Pierre Must Do To Beat Josh Koscheck (Again)
Ask the pound-for-pound king of Mixed Martial Arts about Josh Koscheck, and he'll likely tell you that he couldn't have asked for a better opponent.
He knows that Josh Koscheck is a completely different fighter from the man he faced at UFC 74—he's a more brash, and arguably more in-your-face fighter than he was back when the general consensus was that Koscheck was "a wrestler, not a mixed martial artist."
Back then, GSP's own wrestling made all the difference in the fight, as he was able to use his own against Koscheck while also preventing the Pittsburgh native from utilizing any of his own.
Now he's one week away from the opportunity he has to do it again, but there's a catch:
UFC 74 marked GSP's first fight since losing the belt in Houston to Matt Serra.
The first time he fought Koscheck, Georges wasn't UFC Welterweight Champion, nor was he arguably the pound-for-pound best damn fighter in Mixed Martial Arts, period.
When GSP comes home to the Bell Centre in Montreal, he has his P4P rep AND the belt to lose in this fight.
The only thing Josh Koscheck has to lose?
Anything reminiscent of even a small fan base, if he doesn't last long against GSP.
So what does GSP have to do to make it 2-0 against the TUF 1 alumnus?
Simply put, he has to live by everything he's said leading up to this fight.
He's said that he couldn't have asked for a better opponent than Koscheck, so he has to fight like it, for sure.
You can quote him as saying that he is a specialist in fights against perennial trash-talkers, he's a specialist in fights that fall under the "grudge match" category—his rematches with Matt Hughes, Serra and BJ Penn all come to mind, and he's a specialist against wrestlers.
Again, GSP's two wins over Hughes come to mind, as well as the five-round war with Jon Fitch.
There's likely to be little question as if that trend will continue next Saturday, as the argument can't be made that GSP never beat Hughes or Serra—and if you've been paying attention, the two aforementioned former Welterweight Champions are the only two guys to beat GSP.
Hughes made him tap, and Serra's finish of Rush is widely ranked high on most lists of MMA's biggest upsets.
The fact is, nobody's ever outpointed, out-conditioned, or outclassed GSP, and Koscheck has said that he hopes GSP realizes that Koscheck is coming to finish him next Saturday, so a decision is clearly out of the question.
This means that GSP has to finish Koscheck.
He can't drop his hands, he can't get sloppy, and he can't get too wild on the feet if he stands and bangs with Koscheck.
If striking means setting up for the takedown, so be it, but he better anticipate fighting a well-conditioned Koscheck who likely won't gas until the third round at the earliest, late-fourth-to-mid-fifth-round at the latest.
Translation: if he's the one that takes the fight to the ground, he better do what he did against Dan Hardy and try to make Koscheck tap out.
If standing with Koscheck reads as it sounds—if he wants to finish Koscheck on the feet—he'll have to utilize anything and everything that he picked up from all his time that he spent at the Wild Card Gym in The Philippines with Manny Pacquiao and Freddie Roach.
Personally, I don't believe that GSP is incapable of getting at least one win on his record that comes by way of knockout.
The man can knock your ass out if you're not careful, just like he can submit you if you let him.
GSP wants to be the guy that walks out of Montreal as the UFC Welterweight Champion, and he's definitely an odds-on favorite to beat Josh Koscheck in his hometown, even if he makes the "humble fighter's choice" and chooses to no longer wrap himself up in his own hype nowadays.
If he wants to walk out of his hometown as the champ, however, there's no two ways about what he has to do to Josh Koscheck.
Georges St-Pierre must finish Josh Koscheck...that's the bottom line.