Renowned UFC heel Josh Koscheck is calling it a career, announcing Thursday that he’s hanging up the gloves and retiring from MMA.
Another high profile UFC athlete has called it a career. This time, it’s Josh Koscheck, who most recently plied his trade in Bellator MMA. Despite his late career jump to the Viacom-owned promotion, however, ‘Kos’ will always be remembered most for his time in the UFC — including a coaching stint on The Ultimate Fighter against the legendary Georges St. Pierre, and a failed title challenge against the Canadian.
That title bid, at UFC 124 in Montreal, was a Fight of the Night effort in which Koscheck was simply outclassed. Wonder turned to discomfort as the NCAA Division I champion was repeatedly jabbed in the eye by GSP, a hematoma forming like an alien growth around his right eye socket. After the fight, the American was unable to board a plane home due to the eye injury, and had to make the drive instead. He was later diagnosed with both a fractured orbital socket and plate (cheekbone).
That fight followed his coaching stint on TUF 12, where Koscheck reveled in playing the heel. It earned him plenty of ire from MMA fans, especially Canadians — but by that point, he was already an established bad boy in the UFC.
Koscheck would bounce back with a couple of wins after the loss to St. Pierre, his second to the Canadian (his first, a non-title fight in 2007 at UFC 74, also saw GSP earn a unanimous decision). Besting Matt Hughes and Mike Pierce, there was a brief moment where it seemed ‘Kos’ could work his way back. Then, calamity. He lost a razor-thin decision to fellow wrestler Johny Hendricks, a fight many felt Koscheck won. Losses began to pile up after that. Robbie Lawler, Tyron Woodley, Jake Ellenberger, Erick Silva. The going argument was that Koscheck was facing killers.
Still, five straight losses paved the way for his exit from the UFC. He joined Bellator, and was scheduled in a grudge match with Paul Daley. Daley had sucker-punched Koscheck in the back of the head following a loss at UFC 113. The fight was a title eliminator, the one that earned Koscheck the TUF 12 gig and shot at St. Pierre. Daley, meanwhile, earned a lifetime ban from the promotion.
What felt like an easy sell in Bellator fell through, however. Koscheck wound up injured. The fight was never rescheduled. Instead, ‘Kos’ would make his one and only appearance in the Bellator cage against the virtually unknown Mauricio Alonso. He lost, bringing his losing streak to six. That was Bellator 172 in February 2017.
Things weren’t always so bleak. Having announced his retirement on The Luke Thomas Show, Koscheck brings to close a career that started promising. He appeared on the original Ultimate Fighter in 2005 as a middleweight, defeating Chris Leben before losing a split decision to eventual winner Diego Sanchez. He then won seven of eight fights to start his UFC tenure.
Winning five performance bonuses with the UFC over a span of twenty-five fights, Koscheck finished his career 17–11, with 15 of those wins coming under the UFC banner. He becomes the third former foe of St. Pierre to retire in recent weeks, joining Michael Bisping and Johnny Hendricks.