UFC featherweight Josh Emmett is on the heels of returning to the ring for the first time since February 2018. On that night, Emmett was stopped by Jeremy Stevens in the main event bout.
Before he returns to the cage this weekend at UFC on ESPN 2, Emmett spoke with The Body Lock’s John Hyon Ko and explained the impact of his knockout loss to Stevens.
“I had several fractures in my face, and I was experiencing really bad vertigo. Through my career, it was probably one of the lows that I’ve ever had,” Emmett said.
While Stephen has a notorious reputation as a power puncher, his win over Emmett was his first knockout since 2013. The end came in the second round, derailing Emmett’s two-fight winning streak and has now shuffled him to number ten in the division.
Through the recommendations of doctors and therapists, Emmett decided that the best course of action would be to take extended time off, with specific concern around the potential danger of returning after brain trauma.
“Just in the sport, people have bad concussions, and then they come back too soon and it’s career ending. I didn’t want that to happen to me because I feel like I’m just kind of getting started and that I have a long career ahead of me.”
Despite the devastation of his defeat, it seems that Emmett found that the loss sparked new motivation and an improved fight outlook.
“I was always going on to the next fight. I was always thinking ahead, thinking past my opponent, but now I’m just 100% focused on the person in front of me and nothing else.”
Fight Against Michael Johnson
Approaching his fight against Michael Johnson at UFC on ESPN 2 on March 30, Emmett has been in the process of adding new tools to his fighting game, including working with head coach of Combat Sports Academy (CSA) Kirian Fitzgibbons.
Kirian is a renowned Muay Thai coach known for his work with Kevin “The Soul Assassin” Ross and Bellator’s rising star Gaston “The Dreamkiller” Bolanos.
“It’s a crazy look, you know? Especially because that’s their world. So, I’m just trying to go in there and just see all the kicks, knees, elbows… and I feel like it’s gotten me so much better.”
Emmett is looking to apply both his new striking skills, as well as the wrestling background that kicked off his fighting career but was put behind him due to injuries.
“I’ve been hurt the whole time I’ve been in the UFC. My only fight I was 100% healthy, doing everything, was the first fight. It was the Jon Tuck fight.”
As for now, Emmett is not looking past Johnson:
“I think Michael Johnson is a tough guy. You can’t deny him, he’s beat the who’s who at 55…At any moment he can end the fight, I can end the fight as well. So, I just have to stick to the game plan.”
You can watch Josh Emmett’s full interview with John Hyon Ko below.