Mike Pierce called his shot.
Koscheck was previously scheduled to meet Carlos Condit in the night's co-main event, but became available once an injury to UFC champion Georges St. Pierre resulted in a reshuffling of the fight card. Condit is now slated to fight Nick Diaz for the interim UFC title in the night's main event.
Following the shift, Koscheck (16-5) pushed for a fight at middleweight via his Twitter account. "I'm (still) fighting Feb. 4," he said. "I just asked UFC if I can fight (at) 185." While his request was eventually denied, the bout still marks Koscheck's second outing since an ill-fated title shot against St. Pierre. The 34-year-old bested Matt Hughes at UFC 135 in his first fight back from extended injury layoff.
Pierce (13-4), a longtime UFC veteran with a 5-2 promotion record, lobbied hard for the fight as soon as Koscheck became available. He cited a previous situation in which the fight was offered to "Kos", who then passed it to teammate Jon Fitch. Pierce ultimately lost to Fitch, but has since rattled off wins in four of his last five bouts.
Needless to say, the 31-year-old was ecstatic when he heard the announcement. "It's on!" Pierce posted on Twitter. "Kos tried wiggling outta this one too, but Feb 4th he's mine."
Koscheck was relatively dismissive in his response.
UFC 143 is scheduled for Super Bowl weekend, February 4th, at the Mandalay Bay Events Centers in Las Vegas, Nevada.
UFC 143 fight card:
Interim Welterweight Championship: Nick Diaz vs. Carlos Condit
Featherweight: Erik Koch vs. Dustin Poirier
Bantamweight: Scott Jorgensen vs. Renan Barao
Welterweight: Josh Koscheck vs. Mike Pierce
Middleweight: Rafael Natal vs. Michael Kuiper
Bantamweight: Alex Caceres vs. Edwin Figueroa
Welterweight: Jorge Lopez vs. Amir Sadollah