Two weeks ago, you’d have thought it unlikely that Josh Koscheck would be on the chopping block if he lost to Robbie Lawler at UFC 157. But then the UFC announced that it had cut 16 fighters in just one weekend, including Kosch’s former teammate at AKA—Jon Fitch.
The promotion’s president, Dana White, has since said that there are another 100 cuts to come and Kosch’s first-round TKO at the hands of Lawler on Saturday surely puts him in a precarious situation.
However, the fighter does have a few things going in his favour.
Whatever impact his two recent back-to-back losses will have on his career, Kosch is an accomplished fighter in the UFC. He challenged Georges St-Pierre fort the belt twice in his career and has notable wins over the likes of Matt Hughes, Anthony Johnson, Frank Trigg and Diego Sanchez.
He’s also a fighter who sells seats. His arrogant demeanour divides fans, but always gets attention from the media.
But his celebrity comes at a price. And in what seems to be a cost-conscious UFC that recently took on more than 20 Strikeforce-contracted fighters, the promotion may feel that, like Fitch, Kosch isn’t worth the money.
Kosch’s appearance on MTV’s Cribs is just one demonstration of the dollars he’s commanding. The UFC hasn’t revealed how much he was paid for his appearance at UFC 157, but when he last fought back in May 2012 against Johny Hendricks, he was paid $73,000 for his decision loss. That was the highest show pay for anyone on that card.
After suffering two straight losses, that is going to come into question.
Kosch could fight his way back into the UFC’s good books. The fighter, who once considered moving up to 185 pounds, still has plenty of options at welterweight. But some of his performances hardly guarantee entertaining fights.
Against Lawler on Saturday, we saw Kosch looking to pin his opponent against the cage and hold him there for most of the round. That kind of un-enthralling fighting will never endear him to White. But in many ways, it’s typical Kosch.
We saw the same “smothering” style on display when he fought Johny Hendricks in a boring match that resulted in a split decision in Hendricks' favour. We also saw it when Kosch fought Paul Daley in a fight where he was happy to lie on his opponent for three rounds to get the points.
If Kosch does survive the week and is given another shot, perhaps against an opponent outside the top 10, he will need to bring the fireworks like he did against Hughes and Trigg if he’s to avoid fading into obscurity.