Regardless of rank, stature or proven track record, a string of three successive defeats is a burden that every UFC fighter looks to avoid—generally speaking, it's a telltale sign that walking papers are sure to follow.
With his third consecutive loss at the hands of Tyrone Woodley at UFC 167, that is the exactly the predicament that Josh Koscheck now finds himself in. Worse yet, it's his second straight defeat by way of knockout.
Given his tumultuous recent history, it comes as no surprise that—in the interim between his departure from the Octagon and the UFC 168 post-fight press conference—he brought a possible retirement to UFC President Dana White's attention .
Yet it appears that, according to the brass at Zuffa headquarters, he's got some fight left in him. Addressing the media during the post-fight scrum, White made it known that Koscheck wouldn't be cut from the roster.
But in spite of the push from the top, we cannot ignore the ominous nature of Koscheck considering retirement.
A look at his last five fights makes it clear that shaky doesn't do his recent run justice.
|Josh Koscheck's Last Five UFC Fights|
|11/16/2013||Tyrone Woodley||Loss via KO (Punches)|
|2/23/2013||Robbie Lawler||Loss via TKO (Punches)|
|5/5/2013||Johny Hendricks||Loss via Split Decision|
|2/4/2012||Mike Pierce||Win via Split Decision|
|9/4/2011||Matt Hughes||Win via KO (Punches)|
|Via Sherdog Fighter History|
Even if we focus on the victories, the outlook is bleak.
His last win over a relevant opponent? Mike Pierce almost two years ago. The last time he managed to stop an opponent? A knockout that sent a withered shadow of the titan formerly known as Matt Hughes into retirement.
Yet fighters manage to return from a string of defeats and, in rare occasions, use the burden as a means to reignite their passion for the sport.
Perhaps Koscheck's good standing with the UFC, paired with his deep experience, might be reason for him to take a tuneup fight or two.
In arguably the most telling sign of his future with the organization, White told MMAJunkie that he entered the Octagon after Koscheck's loss last night for a particular reason. "I was worried about him because he got knocked out bad, and I just wanted to go in and make sure he was all right. I've got to talk to him and see if that was a retirement text he was sending me."
Given his status as a tried-and-true veteran—not to mention his importance as a member of the pivotal Ultimate Fighter Season 1 cast—Koscheck will always arouse sympathy and appreciation from White et al.
Ultimately though, it isn't about the fans or the promoters.
If Koscheck feels that he's reached the end of a storied MMA career, he should confidently hand up his gloves knowing that both his achievements and role in a few of the UFC's most critical years are worthy of everyone's respect.