EXCLUSIVE | Erik Koch on UFC 164 Opponent Dustin Poirier: “I Feel Like I’m Better Everywhere.” | Fist-Ta-Cuff Radio
| This upcoming weekend UFC 164 will go down live in Milwaukee and the event is showcasing a ton of local talent, mainly from Roufusport, and our boys over at BJPenn.com’s Fist-Ta-Cuff Radio hooked the fans up with a stellar lineup of guests to get us amped for the upcoming event. They first welcomed on UFC featherweight Erik Koch to discuss his upcoming bout against Dustin Poirier. Koch is coming off of a loss to Ricardo Lamas in his last fight and is looking to get his name back into the title hunt with a win this Saturday in Milwaukee. Koch was kind enough to discuss a few topics concerning his upcoming fight as well as some other MMA news while he was on the airwaves. Here are some of the highlights from Erik Koch’s interview on Fist-Ta-Cuff Radio:
The interview kicked off with Koch talking about the recent news of Conor McGregor calling out and talking trash about all the UFC featherweight contenders. McGregor defeated Max Holloway at UFC Fight Night 26 by decision and it was later revealed that McGregor had a knee injury in that fight and would likely be out for almost a year. On the topic Koch stated, “All that is is him, he was supposed to finish his fight, he was super hyped, and he didn’t finish. So now he’s just trying to make a buzz, dude. That’s all it is. I aint giving him any credit. He can talk shit all he wants. But when it comes down to it, when he faces the top dudes he’ll see what’s up. So he’s just trying to keep himself relevant. That’s all it is in my opinion.” He continued, “He’s out for ten months. What the hell does it matter?”
Koch was then asked to comment on how he felt about trash talking in MMA. He replied, “I get why people do it. It sells fights and I get that. But me, I’m a soft spoken dude and I just like to fight.”
He explained that, “People that aren’t good trash talkers are trying to talk trash now.”
Good point. Not everyone is a Chael Sonnen in MMA.
He was then asked to talk about his upcoming opponent, Dustin Poirier, who stated that he was going to go into Koch’s home turf and beat him in front of all of his friends and family. To that, Koch responded, “He aint gonna come into my home town, he aint gonna knock me out. It’s not gonna happen. I’ve been training my ass off and come August 31st, come Saturday I’m gonna whoop his ass. He can talk all he wants but that doesn’t get the job done, bro.” He continued, “Hopefully he is ready to fight. Hopefully he does bring his A game ‘cause he’s gonna need it.”
Koch was on the verge of earning himself a title shot before dropping a KO loss to Ricardo Lamas in January. That loss set back Koch momentarily but he is now ready to return stronger than he was before. Koch was asked to comment on what he learned from that loss and how he plans to improve from it:
“The biggest thing is the mental thing,” he said. “If anything will make you come back stronger it’s a loss. You know, you just don’t want that stuff to happen again and you do everything in your power to make sure it doesn’t happen again. And that’s kind of where I’m at. I just feel like I’ve matured. As a person, as a fighter, and just tried to change a couple of things around. Not even necessarily training, because I’ve always trained my butt off, but just, you know, mentally. Mentally and just me…what I do outside of training and everything like that. Just being smarter. And I can definitely feel it paying off and I feel great.”
Koch was then asked what he felt the main factor in his loss was. He replied, “I just felt like I wasn’t myself. I didn’t have the pop that I usually do and also, for fighters, not every day is your day. There’s some days you’re off.”
He was also asked to give his opinion on the recent featherweight title fight between Aldo and the Korean Zombie. Aldo won the fight in the fourth round when Zombie dislocated his shoulder and Aldo pounced on him.
“It was a weird fight,” Koch said, sort of looking for words to describe it.“I thought it was a little weird for Aldo when he started going for takedowns.”
“It was just a weird fight.”
While on the subject of title contenders in the UFC featherweight division Koch was asked if he thought the featherweight division was one of the most talented in the organization. He agreed and stated, “Still got Mendes up there tearing it up, you got Lamas, you just had Zombie. You have a bunch of dudes you could say deserve a title shot. It’s definitely a stacked division.”
The conversation then shifted back to Dustin Poirier and how their fight came to fruition. Koch explained, “They’ve been trying to set this fight up, we were supposed to fight before, and I know it’s a fight we both want. So it was one of those things, you know, both of us coming off losses it only made sense. They asked me who I wanted, I said Dustin, and I know he’s voiced his opinion. He’s wanted to fight me before so it was, all parties were happy with this fight.”
When asked what problems and skills Poirier brings to the table and where Koch feels he has an advantage in the fight he stated, “I feel like he’s well rounded, you know, he’s good everywhere, but I feel like I’m better. I feel like I’m better everywhere. Like I said, people don’t see me too much on the ground and, you know, he’s had some impressive wins on the ground. I think he’s used his size a lot to bully people on the ground but I’m another big featherweight. It’s not gonna happen. I just think, honestly, I’m better everywhere.”
Since Koch mentioned the size of both he and his opponent, Dustin Poirier, he was then asked if he saw himself moving up in weight to 155 in the future. He replied, “It’s definitely one of the things down the road. It’s inevitable. It’s gonna happen. Just with my age and where I’m at right now, I do, I cut a lot of weight, I’m a big featherweight, but I just take it one fight at a time. I know eventually, I don’t know when, but eventually I’ll have to move up.”
To close out the interview Koch was asked how much of a pleasure it has been to be able to train with many of his teammates who are also getting ready to fight on the same card come Saturday, August 31st. Anthony Pettis and Pascal Krauss will also be fighting at UFC 164 and it gives Koch a sense of comfort to know that they are going through the same thing as him at the same time. He stated that it doesn’t change the camp entirely but he did say it helps out in the mental aspect of things.
“It makes everything easier because I have people going through it with me” Koch stated. “It’s just cool that we get to experience this together on our home turf. It’s awesome, man.”
“I honestly couldn’t ask for a better support group.”