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What's next for Josh Koscheck?

Josh Koscheck from Waynesburg US in pain after

Josh Koscheck from Waynesburg US in pain after the third round of the Ultimate Fighting Championship on December 11, 2010 at Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. AFP PHOTO / ROGERIO BARBOSA P PHOTO/ ROGERIO BARBOSA (Photo credit should read ROGERIO BARBOSA/AFP/Getty Images) Credit: Getty/ROGERIO BARBOSA

The popular topic Saturday night into Sunday morning in Montreal after UFC 124 was what's next for Georges St-Pierre. The debate continues days later.

Having cleaned out the UFC's welterweight division save for former Strikeforce champion Jake Shields, everyone wants to see GSP move up to middleweight and challenge Anderson Silva. Number 1 vs. Number 2 on everyone's pound-for-pound best fighters list, it would break every MMA pay-per-view record. It could even challenge boxing's biggest PPV, Oscar de la Hoya vs. Floyd Mayweather. It would also compete with Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao, if those two fighters ever step into the same ring at the same time and both are wearing boxing gloves.

But enough about St-Pierre, at least for right now. What about Josh Koscheck? What's next for the defeated challenger?

The immediate future for Koscheck centers on surgery and rehab for the broken orbital bone around his right eye. GSP busted it early in Round 1 with a stiff left jab, and kept peppering it throughout the 25-minute fight.

But Koscheck (17-5) will heal from that, presumably. What happens to him after that? Who does he fight? What is his end-game?

Too often we forget about the challenger after he loses a title match. Although this was Koscheck's first shot at the title, he's at a disadvantage. He already lost to GSP once before (UFC 74), so a third fight seems out of the realm of possibility any time soon.

Maybe two or three years from now, Koscheck could challenge GSP for the title. That's assuming GSP is still the champ and still fighting at 170 pounds.

Rather, for Koscheck to get another title shot in the near future, he'll need GSP to lose the title or vacate it in his move to middleweight. Should either of those occur in 2011, Koscheck's title prospects increase dramatically.

Of course, he'll still have to win a few fights before earning another title shot. But his best-case scenario is if UFC president Dana White makes the GSP-Silva fight happen sooner than later.

That's the reality of fighting in the UFC. You work your way up the mountain, and when you get close the top, just hope you don't fall all the way down to the base again.

Koscheck earned some respect by continuing to fight with that lemon above and below his eye. No way he could see out of it, but he lasted all five rounds and never got knocked down. There's something noble about that, and it likely keeps him higher up on the food chain at welterweight for now.

New York Sports