Josh Koscheck entered this past Saturday night a heavy favorite. His opponent was Paulo Thiago, an unknown and undefeated Brazilian making his UFC debut. Koscheck’s victory was a forgone conclusion, Vegas had him favored at -450. That all changed with an uppercut and a left hook, once again demonstrating that in MMA all it takes is one punch to end a fight.
There is an adage in the NFL that on any given Sunday any team can win. The same holds true for MMA. It is just the nature of the beast, Joe Rogan summed it up when he said, “with those little gloves anything can happen at any moment.” (For those looking for a more in depth analysis as to why a four-ounce glove can deliver powerful knockouts check out this previous analysis.)
While the fight did spawn a debate over whether the stoppage was premature or not, it doesn’t change the outcome. Koscheck, the consensus fourth ranked welterweight in the world, suffered his first knockout defeat in his career.
Koscheck may be the latest victim of the welterweight meat grinder. After all, the UFC’s welterweight division is the deepest in all of MMA. Besides holding nine of the top – ten welterweights, the division has also witnessed several major upsets: George St. Pierre’s stunning loss to Matt Serra, Thiago Alves destruction of Matt Hughes and now Josh Koschek’s knockout loss to an unknown Paulo Thiago.
Will this loss foreshadow a fall out of the top five, or will Koscheck be able to rebound?
Ultimately, we will have to wait and see if Koscheck can handle the sudden adversity facing him after such a stunning loss. One fighter who knows what it is like to handle such a shock is George St. Pierre. St. Pierre’s loss to Matt Serra was the greatest upset in UFC history, but St. Pierre did not wilt under his failure. He came back stronger then ever, defeating Josh Koscheck, Matt Serra, Jon Fitch and B.J. Penn.
Koscheck now finds himself in a similar place as the current welterweight champion, though the road may be more difficult. There are questions over what the UFC will do with Josh in the future. Will the UFC give him another rising welterweight or perhaps they will match him against a fellow top-ten welterweight, perhaps Carlos Condit or the victor of Serra – Hughes. Whoever Koscheck is matched up against, his demise has opened a window in the welterweight division. There is now no obvious heir to the current number one contender Thiago Alves.
There is still time for Koscheck to repair the damage, but he must rise to occasion as St. Pierre did, when he lost to Serra.
Zak Woods is the founder of WatchKalibRun.com