Josh Koscheck has spent the better part of the past decade in the elite tier of the UFC's welterweight division.
The Pennsylvania native and former NCAA Division I national champion wrestler from Edinboro University burst onto the sport's biggest stage as a standout from the inaugural season of The Ultimate Fighter. He went on to be a perennial contender in one of the UFC's most talent-rich divisions.
"Kos" built an impressive resume as he collected victories over former champions and title challengers alike, and he garnered enough momentum to earn a title opportunity against 170-pound king Georges St-Pierre at UFC 124 back in 2010.
While Koscheck's success consistently kept him within striking distance of another title shot, things have taken an unusual turn for the Fresno-based fighter in the past two years. Where he had gone the first 22 showings of his career without ever having lost back-to-back fights, the 36-year-old has suffered defeat in his last three outings, the most recent of which came against Tyron Woodley at UFC 167 last November.
With two of the three losses coming by way of first-round knockout, and Koscheck's long-held role as one of the divisional elite apparently slipping, questions about his retirement lingered in the aftermath of his bout with Woodley in Las Vegas.
Koscheck recently spoke to Brett Okamoto of ESPN.com about his road ahead and expressed his intention to continue fighting inside the Octagon:
I’ve been training my whole life. I’ve never had a break. I feel like I need to get away and take some time off and enjoy life. At this point, I’m still coming back. I have two more fights on my contract, and I plan on fighting those out and seeing if I want to continue. I’m obligated to two more fights with the UFC.
I’ve been called twice for fights, and I told the UFC, ‘no.’ I’m not ready yet. ... A lot of fighters have no clue what it takes to get ready for a fight -- the dedication it takes. That kind of preparation can take a toll on your body.
Koscheck has two fights remaining on his UFC contract and plans to fulfill his agreement with the organization. That said, Koscheck did admit he needed some time off after his last fight and has been easing his way back into things before he agrees to take his next fight.
Duane Finley is a featured columnist for Bleacher Report. All quotes are obtained firsthand unless noted otherwise.