Winner between Koscheck, Daley at UFC 113 secures title bout with St-Pierre
Welterweight contenders Josh Koscheck and Paul (Semtex) Daley will square off at UFC 113 for bragging rights, pride and a date with champ Georges St-Pierre.
MONTREAL - Welterweight contenders Josh Koscheck and Paul (Semtex) Daley will square off at UFC 113 for bragging rights, pride and a date with champ Georges St-Pierre.
Koscheck and Daley will meet in the co-main event Saturday when the UFC lands in Montreal for a third time.
As a bonus, UFC president Dana White announced Thursday that a title shot against Canada's St-Pierre, one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the sport, is also on the line.
But neither Koscheck nor Daley, who have exchanged pre-bout trash-talking blows, would admit they're even thinking about the opportunity to dance with St-Pierre.
"I don't really care too much about the title shot right now," said Koscheck (16-4), when asked at the pre-fight news conference Thursday if he feels any added pressure.
"I care about Saturday night — winning — and then we'll deal with that after the fight."
Asked if he's changing his approach now that a crack at St-Pierre's welterweight belt is up for grabs, Daley (23-8-2) responded: "Not so much."
"I'm the type of fighter who just likes to focus on the job at hand and for me it's just Josh Koscheck on Saturday and that's it," said the Brit, who wore dark shades to the news conference.
St-Pierre's decisive victory over Dan (The Outlaw) Hardy at UFC 111 in March means he has essentially taken out all his challengers other than Daley.
He has already defeated Koscheck (at UFC 74 in August 2007) and other top fighters in the 170-pound division, such as Jon Fitch and Thiago Alves. The Montrealer has also beaten former champs Matt Hughes (twice), B.J. Penn (twice) and Matt Serra.
But White likes what he sees in Daley and Koscheck, a fighter he says has been improving with every fight.
"He (Koscheck) is a kid that goes for the finish, whether it's submission, punches, kicks, whatever, he goes for it," he said.
"Paul Daley burst onto the scene, has been knocking everybody out and has now got his opportunity to take out Josh Koscheck."
White's hoping to rinse a bad taste out of his mouth after middleweight champion Anderson Silva delivered a bizarre performance last month in a decision win over Demian Maia at UFC 112 in Abu Dhabi.
The talented Silva clearly could have had his way with Maia in the main event, but instead danced around the cage, taunting and ridiculing his opponent along the way.
The crowd booed Silva and White was so disgusted he didn't even enter the Octagon to wrap the belt around the champ's waist, as he always does.
But White's confident the fighters will deliver this weekend at the Bell Centre.
"I can count on one hand how many fights have sucked in the UFC in the last 10 years," he said.
"The reason that this sport has gotten so big, so fast and has become so popular is because of the fighters and the way that these guys go in and fight."
Saturday's main event features a heavily-anticipated rematch between light-heavyweight champion Lyoto (The Dragon) Machida will take on Mauricio (Shogun) Rua.
Machida (16-0) scored a controversial decision over Rua (18-4) at UFC 104 in October. Many thought Rua should have won the fight.
Rua, a Brazilian, predicts an even tighter battle this time, now that he and his countryman know each other's game.
"I trained very hard and I know that this is going to be a battle because he's a great fighter, so regardless I'm always confident and ready (for) whatever happens," Rua said through an interpreter.
Machida, who hadn't really been hit before taking a beating from Rua's leg kicks last fall, isn't dwelling on what happened the last time they met.
"Yes, it was a very controversial fight, but that's in the past now," said Machida, also through an interpreter.
"What I'm focused on now is Saturday night."
Another big name who will enter the cage is a big man named Kimbo Slice, who will take on an even larger fighter in former NFL lineman Matt Mitrione.
Slice (4-1), who has become a hockey fan, wore a red Montreal Canadiens tuque to the news conference and was even thinking about going to the Habs playoff game Thursday night at the Bell Centre.
Earlier in the week, he linked a photo of himself with a statue of Habs legend Guy Lafleur to his Twitter page.
Slice is a fan favourite known for his bushy beard.
"Yeah, I get a lot of love everywhere I go ... people give me love and I give it back," said the six-foot-two, 215-pounder.
He's been impressed by Montreal's enthusiasm for mixed martial arts.
"(There's) a lot of passion here," the Miami resident said.
"It's a big fight — 21,000 people, sold out, so that's awesome, man. You can't get bigger than that, I guess."
His heavyweight opponent, the six-foot-three, 260-pound Mitrione (1-0), is a relative newcomer to the UFC who can't wait to start "trading leather" with Slice.
"The guy over there with that beard and me, that's what we do — we let 'em fly and we respect the stand-up game," Mitrione said pointing towards Slice.
"It'll be fun, it'll be getting out there and fighting like we're kids again."