Koch Remembers MMA Debut as 17-Year-Old

By Sherdog.com Staff Dec 3, 2010
Erik Koch, on “The Savage Dog Show,” discussing his MMA debut at 17 (his coaches had told the promoter he was 18):

“It was crazy. It was my first fight, and I think I was the co-main event. I dyed my hair red. I’m this skinny white kid with red hair and people were like, ‘What the hell is this guy doing?’ I walked in there, and the first thing I see is my opponent. We kind of have the same warm-up room. He’s there with Pat Miletich, Spencer Fisher, Jens Pulver, Robbie Lawler, and this was when Miletich’s was the place to be. When I was 17, they had world champions crawling [all over] that place. I’m thinking, ‘Oh my God. This guy’s getting cornered by all four of these guys. They must have a lot of hype in this guy.’ … At the time I’m hearing all of this hype, and I’m like, ‘Damn, what did I get myself into?’ I’ve never experienced a fight, so I didn’t know what to think. … I’ll never forget it: It was the only time in a fight that I was scared. Because I didn’t know what to expect. I was really nervous. It was the only time in my life in a fight I’ve been scared. I can honestly tell you that. And then my coach goes, ‘Now Erik, remember: this ain’t about winning or losing. This is just good cage experience for you.’ And I’m thinking, ‘My own coach thinks I’m going to lose.’ … I’m like no, I’m going to win this fight. They kind of just lit a fire under my butt. I ended up going out there and dominated all three rounds, dominated everywhere, wrestling, jiu-jitsu. I broke the guy’s ribs with a body kick. Standing, I don’t think the guy touched me. I don’t think he landed a punch. Just completely dominated him and then finished him with a rear-naked choke in the third round. And then after that was when my brother came up to me, and he was like, ‘New Breed. That’s your nickname.’”
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