Josh Koscheck was a talented and well-respected athlete in high school and was named the Pennsylvania State Wrestling Champion. He was offered collegiate scholarships for both football and wrestling, and chose to attend Edinboro University of Pennsylvania as a wrestler. In 2001, Koscheck was named the NCAA Division I National Champion with a 42-0 record.
In 2005, Koscheck was featured on the reality show "The Ultimate Fighter: Season 1" where he was coached by UFC legend, Chuck Liddell, and became as well-known for his trash-talking skills as his fighting skills. Koscheck primarily used his wrestling abilities on the show. He relied on getting his opponents to the ground to win fights, which allowed him to go 2-1 before he ultimately lost by split decision to Diego Sanchez in the semifinals. He knew that he needed to be a more well-rounded fighter if he wanted to last in the UFC.
Koscheck pushed through grueling training every day and improved his striking skills with each bout, but he reached a new level when he knocked out Yoshiyuki Yoshida and seasoned veteran, Frank Trigg. Koscheck proved that he no longer needed to rely on his wrestling skills to pull off a win - he could do it standing.
Despite his vastly improved striking skills, Koscheck hasn't forgotten his wrestling roots and executed a solid game plan when he faced off against Paul Daley in UFC 113, and scored 4 take downs. The fight ultimately went to a decision and the judges scored 30-27 with Koscheck named the winner. (After the decision, Daley sucker punched Koscheck in the face, causing his permanent elimination from the UFC.)
From a star high school wrestler to a UFC championship contender, Josh Koscheck is a prime example of how a fighter needs to evolve and adapt in order to be successful in the UFC. Although he was highly decorated and very talented before, Koscheck didn't automatically have what it takes to fight in the cage. The days are long and the training never ends, but the taste of victory is oh so sweet.
“ Some things in life come easy to talented people. But you can have all the talent in the world and never amount to anything great without the will and work ethic.”
- Josh Koscheck