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Josh Emmett willing to put everything on the line in pursuit of featherweight glory

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A few years ago, while filming an episode of “The Ultimate Fighter,” UFC president Dana White angrily asked a gathered group of athletes, “Do you want to be a fucking fighter?”

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The answer to that question would be a quick and immediate “No” from most if any of them knew what Featherweight Josh Emmett went through on his way to the top.

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Emmett has gone through incredibly serious injuries but remains one of the elite, perhaps in the UFC’s best and deepest divisions. And for only the second time in his UFC career, will he get the chance to fight someone ranked higher than him when he takes on No. 4 Calvin Kattar in the five-round main event of UFC Fight Night on Saturday. 7:00 pm ET). , ESPN) in Austin, Texas.

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Emmett, ranked seventh in the division, is finally back to his regular schedule. During a fight with Jeremy Stevens in 2018, part of his face was crushed and he had dizziness for some time after that.

He was out for 13 months before returning with a victory over Michael Johnson. But less than 20 seconds after his June 20, 2020 Fight of the Night fight with Shane Burgos in Las Vegas, he tore his left leg. Among the many injuries was a torn anterior cruciate ligament.

After that, he was out for 18 months, but the most incredible thing was that he defeated Burgos, despite the severity of the injury. And upon his return, he took a unanimous decision victory over the always tough Dan Ige at UFC 269 on December 11, 2021.

This leads him into a fight with Kattar, still focused not only on the title shot but on winning him.

For this, he is ready to do anything to win. He doesn’t let thoughts of himself as an old man with all the aches and pains that a long fighting career brings get into his head and hold him back.

“I am willing to put my body and myself through fire and hell to achieve greatness,” he said. And I’m so close to it.

Due to his attacking style taking a toll on his body, he has only fought once in 2018, 2020 and 2021. But, looking at his track record, it becomes clear that he is right. A win over Kattar will bring Emmett closer to a title shot.

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - DEC 11: Josh Emmett exits the arena after defeating Featherweight Dan Ige by unanimous decision during UFC 269 at the T-Mobile Arena on December 11, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – DEC 11: Josh Emmett exits the arena after defeating Featherweight Dan Ige by unanimous decision during UFC 269 at the T-Mobile Arena on December 11, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)

Champion Alexander Volkanovski will face #1 Max Holloway at UFC 276 next month, while #2 Brian Ortega will face #3 Yair Rodriguez two weeks later.

The underdog Ortega-Rodriguez will have two losses in a row, so if Emmet beats Kattar, he will have a much easier path to the top than it might seem for someone who finished seventh.

This brings him closer to his dream of winning the belt.

“My ultimate goal when I got into the UFC was to become a UFC champion, and now I’m so close to that,” Emmett said. “I’m here. I just have to go out and defeat the tough, dangerous Calvin Kattar and everything will come. Everything has led me to this moment, and everything happens for a reason.

“I truly believe that I am the best fighter on the planet and in this division. I have to go out and perform, and if I show myself as the best, no one can beat me.”

He has a sense of purpose that few fighters possess. At the beginning of the fight with Burgos, it would have been easy to tap, after he tore his leg and decided to fix it. That way, he wouldn’t risk more serious injury, but it’s not Emmett.

And while fighters often say that their adrenaline is so high that they don’t feel injured in a fight, Emmett’s pain has been significant since he injured it. He still had over 24 minutes left to take on an elite opponent like Burgos, and he fought with as much courage as one could expect from an athlete.

“It hurt like hell,” Emmett said. “You can see it if you watch the return fight, when it first happened, it hurt so much. It was painful. I had so many things to do. I had no stability at all, but then again, I had one job. Why am I here? Win.

“So no matter what, every punch I throw still has bad intentions against them and I’m going to end the fight and have fun and be exciting and raise my hand.”

Speaks like a guy, Dana White, who really wants to be a fucking fighter.



Source: sports.yahoo.com

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