Dana White announced that the winner of the Josh Koscheck/Paul Daley fight would get a title shot against UFC welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre later this year. Of course Josh Koscheck won the fight against Daley, reverting back to his wrestling to get the win in an admittedly conservative approach according to Koscheck. I've read some material where some saw Koscheck's performance against Daley and think that GSP will pretty much have his way with Koscheck.
I disagree. I think Koscheck is the only guy in the UFC welterweight division(aside from a hailmary punch from someone) of dethroning GSP from atop his perch as king of the welterweights. This might get lengthy, so follow me after the jump.
Josh Koscheck and Georges St. Pierre fought for the first time roughly three years ago at UFC 74(Aug. 2007). GSP pretty much dominated Koscheck, but it wasn't the same type of domination GSP had with Jon Fitch or even Thiago Alves. Not to mention it was a non-title affair, so it was only a three round fight. The fightmetric stats on the fight can be found here.
The biggest factor in that fight was the belief that Koscheck was the best wrestler in MMA at the time. You always heard Joe Rogan sing the praises of Koscheck's college wrestling credentials, and he was primarily still a wrestler back then. I think Koscheck thought that he was by far the best wrestler in MMA and probably stopped training his wrestling to work on his striking and submission game. So going into that initial fight with GSP, I think Koscheck just overlooked the fact that GSP could possibly take him down thus not training for those positions. Of course those of us that saw the fight know that Koscheck spent an incredible amount of time on his back in that fight, and although he was hit often, he didn't absorb a huge amount of damage over the three rounds.
Now almost three years later and both fighters have evolved and have sort of switched places with GSP being known for his wrestling and Koscheck displaying power in his stand-up abilities.
The biggest difference in this re-match that will take place later this year is the fact that Koscheck knows what GSP is capable of in the wrestling department. It was evident to me that he did a lot of wrestling in preparation for Daley, and I'm sure that will continue as he prepares for GSP. There are 3 more reasons why Koscheck is the biggest threat to GSP:
-He's the only welterweight than can come close to matching GSP's wrestling
-He has power in his hands/feet and brutal GnP when he has top position
-He can match GSP's athleticism
I don't see how anyone would watch the fight with Daley and let that performance form their opinion of how he would do against GSP because it's a totally different fight. Daley comes in to do one thing and that's take your head off. GSP is one of the most well rounded fighters in the game, so it would be a totally different gameplan for Koscheck.
When you look at GSP's last three opponents, he has utterly dominated them. I won't count the BJ Penn fight because he's really a lightweight. Let's look at Jon Fitch and Thiago Alves who were consensus #2 welterweights at the time GSP destroyed them.
- Has zero power with his striking which allowed GSP to stand and trade when he wanted
- Has wrestling ability, but it's not even close to being elite and he couldn't stop GSP's takedowns
- Doesn't have the athletic ability that Koscheck has to scramble, etc
- His wrestling is limited and he wasn't able to stop GSP's takedowns much at all, thus limiting his ability to use his strength(striking)
- His huge size affected his cardio
Koscheck's never been in a five round fight, but I have no doubts about him being able to go 5 rounds with GSP if need be. Whomever dethrones GSP will need to have the attributes(mainly ridiculous wrestling) that Koscheck has. Can he put it all together with the correct gameplan to do so? I don't know. However, Koscheck is the biggest threat to GSP at welterweight.