While the exact details of Koch’s injury were undisclosed, “New Breed” hopes to return to the cage sooner than later. Most fighters would be down after losing out on the biggest opportunity of their career, but the Iowa native is trying his best to stay positive and knows his chance will come around again eventually.
“I trained my butt off for this guy, and to get right there and then to have it all change that fast, it’s a lot to deal with,” Koch told ESPN in a recent interview. “But I’m just trying to keep my head up; I’m happy I don’t need surgery. I know my body and I knew that whatever [the injury] was it wasn’t good.”
“And if I can’t train, obviously it was something serious. But it’s not as bad as it could have been, and we’ll get past it and I will get my shot eventually.”
Getting Koch in the Octagon with Aldo has been a trying ordeal for the UFC. The two were originally slated to face off at UFC 149 in July, however Aldo pulled out of the fight with a leg injury. Koch was worried he may have lost his title shot, but the UFC rescheduled the fight for UFC 153 in Brazil. Once Koch got injured, he was replaced by former UFC lightweight champion Frankie Edgar who now challenges Aldo for the title in the UFC 153 main event.
Having not competed for 12 months and unlikely to step in the cage for the rest of the calendar year, Koch is doing his best to be mature about the situation and realize every fighter has their ups and downs, and the injury he sustained that forced him out of UFC 153 is one of the downs.
“It makes you grow up,” he said. “I’m looking at it as there being nowhere else to go but up. You can only be down for so long. You’ve got to pick yourself back up. I’m just trying to stay positive.
“It just seems like I can’t get anything going this year.”
A lot of fighters would be mentally broken after everything Koch has been through. The Duke Roufus trained fighter lost out on a once in a lifetime opportunity to win a UFC title and beat Jon Jones’ record of youngest champion in UFC history. The entire situation didn’t play out the way Koch wanted, however he refuses to let it break him and says he is as motivated as ever to get back to fighting and earn another shot at the UFC title.
“My fire is lit.” Koch explained. “I’m just as motivated today as I was going into this fight with Aldo. I just want to get back in [the Octagon]. I’ve been dealing mentally with the things that have happened this year, dealing with the long layoff, the injuries. I’m just trying to have a clear, leveled head.
“All this situation is doing is lighting the fire, it’s just building that fire until I fight again.”