The Fight Horizon – Josh Koscheck vs. Demian Maia
UFC 163 in Brazil, headlined by Jose Aldo and Anthony Pettis, now has a second fight on the card. In a curious matchup, recent winner Demian Maia will face off against recent loser Josh Koscheck. This goes against the UFC trend of matching up guys who are on the up and up, as well as guys coming off losses. Check out cagepotato for their conspiracy theory on the reasoning behind this announcement.
The Matchup: Josh Koscheck vs. Demian Maia
Josh Koscheck (17-7 overall, 15-7 UFC)
Strengths: Rocket right hand, wrestling
Weaknesses: Becoming one-dimensional and predictable
Demian Maia (18-4 overall, 12-4 UFC)
Strengths: Jiu-jitsu and ever improving striking
Weaknesses: Striking (although improving)
The Date: August 3, 2013 at UFC 163 in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil
Weight Class: Welterweight
What led to it: This is a strange match-up to make because of both fighters’ recent performances. Since dropping to welterweight, Demian Maia is on a tear right now, defeating the likes of solid fighters such as Dong Hyun Kim and Rick Story and coming off of a dominating (though somewhat uninteresting) performance against former contender Jon Fitch. Josh Koscheck on the other hand, was last seen getting pummeled by Robbie Lawler in the first round of a fight he was favored to win. Kos lost a close split decision to Johny Hendricks before that. The already-booked Jake Ellenberger and Rory MacDonald fight limited the choices for a more sensible opponent for Maia, but Nick Diaz or Carlos Condit might have made more sense as well. Maia needs one of the top-ranked guys now, but Koscheck isn’t necessarily a bigger name than Fitch, so a lot of heads are being scratched now.
Why it matters: For Maia, it would be another impressive victory to add to his resume. The list of viable contenders at welterweight isn’t that long and Maia could be sniffing a title shot very soon in the future. But as stated, Kos is coming off of two losses and you’d have to wonder what a victory over him would really accomplish. Maia is already ranked higher than Koscheck on many boards. Regardless of that, Maia could use a big finish or impressive performance against Koscheck, to show that he can hang with the best in the division. His performance against Fitch was very smart and dominating, but it wasn’t the stuff of legends that makes fans call for a big name match-up or title eliminator. Maia beat Fitch like Jon Fitch would beat Fitch, which is a very hard task to do, but it didn’t make anyone’s jaw drop.
For Josh Koscheck, the UFC mainstay with his ever-present smack talking and showmanship, this could very well be a make-or-break fight to stay in the UFC. Surprising as that sounds, former teammate and UFC veteran Jon Fitch was in a very similar situation and Fitch is fighting for the WSOF organization now. Koscheck could use a showstopping KO here in a big way. His loss to Hendricks was very close and GSP famously stated he thought Koscheck actually won that fight. Hendricks is challenging for the title now, so it’s not crazy to say Koscheck is still an elite fighter with the goods to beat anyone on a given night. But any sort of a loss here could mean more roster trimming from the UFC’s perspective and a bad loss would make Kos a recipient of two highlight reel finishes in a row, something that would take a lot of time and effort to overcome. A good win here and Kos would shoot right back up the rankings and earn a date with another top ranked fighter. Who wouldn’t want to see a Nick Diaz vs. Josh Koscheck showdown with all of the build up and drama before the fight? Kos has value as an entertainer, but he has to win and win now.
Tags: Demian Maia, Josh Koscheck, Mixed Martial Arts, The Fight Horizon, UFC 163