Reporter Seo Jang-won = UFC fighter is an extreme job. They train hard and fight with the risk of serious injury in every match. Even a long-term injury can completely cut off income for an entire year. However, many fighters persevere, dreaming of becoming the world’s strongest fighter.
Josh Emmett (37, USA), who will fight for the interim UFC featherweight title on the 12th, is a fighter who has overcome extreme trials. Emmett suffered two long-term injuries that almost ended his career, but he got back up like a phoenix and finally clashed with Yair Rodriguez (30, Mexico) for the interim title.
Emmett has been an unknown fighter for a long time. He served as a training partner for famous fighters such as former UFC bantamweight champion Cody Brandt, Chad Mandes, and Uriah Faber in the prestigious team ‘Team Alpha Male’, but he did not reveal his name.
Then, in 2017, Emmett garnered attention when he knocked out top UFC featherweight champion Ricardo Lamas in a fight in which he received a short-term replacement offer. It was his first chance at the age of 32.
Emmett took on Jeremy Stephens in the main event of a live broadcast on Fox Terrestrial. However, in the second round, Stevens’ left hook followed by an elbow pounding knocked him out, and he suffered a fracture in the left side of his face. In particular, it was a big crisis that the orbital fracture was so severe that the eyeball might have to be removed.
Fortunately, after three surgeries and rehabilitation, Emmett was able to return to the Octagon after 13 months. He went on to win again with three straight wins, but this time his knee injury got in the way. In a match against Shane Burgos, who won by decision in 2020, Emmett suffered five injuries in his knee alone, including a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee.
Again, Emmett returned to the Octagon after 18 months of surgery and rehabilitation. Then he beat Dan Ige and Calvin Kater consecutively to enter the 5th place in the rankings and finally become a title contender.
In an interview with News 1, Emmett said calmly about the situation at the time, “It was inevitable. Now I have been treated, and I have overcome and moved on.” He went on to reveal his title aspirations, saying, “My goal is to become world champion and nothing will stop me from achieving that goal.”
The UFC featherweight interim title fight was created to fill the void left by champion Alexander Volkanovski challenging Islam Makhachev for the lightweight title. The interim champion is entitled to a unified title fight when the champion returns, and if the champion does not return, the champion will officially take over.
If Volkanovski hadn’t challenged for the lightweight title, Emmett might have lost the title challenge to #2 Rodriguez and had to fight another opponent. Emmett said, “I’m glad things turned out this way. Timing is the most important thing in mixed martial arts (MMA). I couldn’t write a better scenario than this.” 온라인바카라
The opponent, Rodriguez, is a fighter based on Taekwondo. Rodriguez, who is a black belt in Taekwondo, freely uses leg kicks, body kicks, and head kicks to overwhelm opponents with long-distance strikes. He is also good at an irregular elbow attack at close range. In 2018, Jeong Chan-sung’s buzzer-beater elbow KO, which exploded just before the end of the game, is a typical example.
Emmett is expecting a tough game. “Rodriguez is a great fighter. There’s a reason he’s one of the best in the world. He’s dynamic, he’s hard to hit, he’s unpredictable, he’s technically good. So it’s hard to find a weakness. He won’t be easy to attack.”
Nevertheless he is confident that he will win. In preparation for Rodriguez’s kick, he trained with UFC lightweight Vyacheslav Borshov, a former kickboxing champion, and Andre Fili, UFC featherweight who had experience fighting Rodriguez, and prepared a customized strategy.
Emmett said, “I watched a lot of videos of Rodriguez. I try to attack a habit that can never be corrected in the 10-week camp.” I will do it,” he promised.
Lastly, Emmett, who said he enjoys eating kimchi because his best friend is Korean, thanked the Korean fans, “I’m getting a lot of messages of support from Korean fans. Visiting Korea is one of my bucket lists. Thank you for cheering me on.”