After a 15-month layoff, UFC veteran Josh Koscheck is ready to step back in the octagon.
Koscheck, who lives in Fresno and runs Dethrone Base Camp, will face Jake Ellenberger in a welterweight fight at UFC 184 Saturday at Staples Center.
The Waynesburg, Pa., native heads into his fight on a three-fight losing streak — his opponent as well.
Koscheck (17-8 mixed martial arts, 15-8 UFC) is relishing the opportunity to get back in the octagon.
“Quite a long time off,” Koscheck said, “but I’ve been at this for quite a long time and I feel like I was in need of a break from this sport. I got a long, hard training camp in, and I’m excited to be back.”
Koscheck, 37, said he drifted away from the combat-style fighting because he needed to “refresh my body, my mind” after his skid reached three. He last fought in November 2013, losing by knockout in the first round to Tyron Woodley.
“It was a good opportunity to focus on things outside of mixed martial arts — to get a taste what it can be like if I didn’t have mixed martial arts, that’s for sure,” said Koscheck, adding he’s done some traveling during the time off.
As far his peformances in the losses?
“Nobody likes to lose,” he said. “Obviously it was part of the decision, of course. I felt like I needed to step away after that last loss with Tyron and focus on me and improving my boxing, wrestling, ju-jitsu and just improving as a mixed martial artist.”
Like Koscheck, Ellenberger (29-9 MMA, 8-5 UFC) is hoping to get back on the winning track, but Koscheck doesn’t plan on letting that happen.
“He’s a good opponent,” Koscheck said. “He’s in the same boat as me. He has some weakness and I plan on exploiting those and get a victory.”
Ellenberger, 29, said he’s looking to do the same.
“I’m looking to put him away,” he told mmajunkie.com. “He’s shown plenty of weaknesses and he has no problem quitting. … You expect the best of him to show up. That doesn’t matter to me. He’s got an eye that’s been damaged pretty extensively. He’s doesn’t want this fight; he wants the paycheck. I don’t care what Josh Koscheck shows up. It doesn’t mean anything to me. I’m going to paint the wall bloody.”
Win or lose, Koscheck doesn’t plan on retiring any time soon as long as his body allows it.
“My body feels pretty darn good,” he said. “Just fight the way I know how to fight, and keep going for a couple of more years, but we’ll see. I’m taking it day by day.”