Technique Retrospective: Josh Koscheck's Punching and Freddie Roach's Prediction

Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images

While MMA fans tend to think Georges St. Pierre spends more time training with Freddie Roach than is accurate, Freddie does have a good grasp on the striking game of GSP. He also can break down punching technique as well as almost anyone on the planet. So when he talked to Fight Hub TV about Josh Koscheck's technique and how Georges could beat him at UFC 124 people should have listened. From the interview:

"Koscheck jumps in from far away," Roach told FightHubtv.com. "I told (Georges) to not pull away from that and beat that on the counter. I told him, 'I think you'll knock him out with the left hook in that fight.'"

That "jumping in" was never more clear than in Koscheck's fight with Paulo Thiago at UFC 95. From a piece I did on how Koscheck's poor technique in that fight:

Josh starts by lunging when he throws the jab, his feet leave the ground as he starts to throw the punch.  There is no reason to "jump in" with this punch for starters.  It isn't like a superman punch, you're not gaining any momentum on the jab by hopping forward as you throw it.  A jab is a snap punch, the power on it comes from pumping it and snapping it back.

...

Looking at his body positioning I can only guess that he was going to try to wing a big overhand right behind the bunny hop.

Lastly, watch Josh's eyes as he throws the jab.  Where are they?  Is he locked in on his target in Paulo's head?  Is he locked in on Paulo's chest and shoulders to follow any potential counterpunch movement?  No, he is looking downward somewhere between Thiago's legs and the ground.  Josh gave himself no chance to see a punch coming in return and in the end it came down to bad jab vs. solid uppercut.  Guess which one wins that clash damn near every time?

A .gif of the punch along with more on the technique of "Kos" after the jump.

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Here's the punch in question. While a fighter should absolutely step into their jab, Koscheck is off the ground as he comes in:

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From looking back at Josh's fights since the Thiago fight it does seem to me that he keeps his eyes up better now and jumps in less. He still tends to jump in occasionally and Roach is right that there is a moment when Koscheck tries to quickly change distance that he can be countered. The best example of the left hand when Koscheck tries to come in aggressively was in his UFC 90 bout with Thiago Alves:

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The other place where I think you beat Koscheck standing is off his jab. He throws it and lets it hang, pawing more than snapping. Sometimes he's not even throwing the punch, he's just reaching his left out as a distance finder. I know this isn't unheard of in MMA, but it leaves him open to strikes if you trust your wrestling enough to fire shots at him.

I think it's safe to say that Koscheck is a better fighter now than he was against Alves and Thiago when he made these mistakes. The question is if he can have these flaws trained out of him or if they're built in to his fighting instincts. I've seen hundreds of fighters with correctable flaws that never made the correction in a fight despite being trained on it because they just can't get away from their instincts.

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