Roughly 18 months ago, Josh Emmett went to war with Shane Burgos in a fight of the night, unanimous decision victory. While a win over a top 15 opponent like Burgos usually would buoy someone’s career, it wound up having some immediate adverse effects on Emmett’s. A significant knee injury and some complications led to him being on the shelf until this upcoming weekend.
Despite these obstacles, Emmett still feels like he is on the right path to the goal he has had since he entered the sport.
“That’s my ultimate goal – I’m fighting because I want to be a world champion. I’ve striving towards that goal every single day and that’s what motivates me to get up and keep working, even at my age,” Emmett said. “[Dan] Ige – he’s been active, he’s fought the best guys in the world, he’s coming off two main event fights, he’s durable. So I can go out there and make a statement and be right back in the mix.”
Not only would a big win over Ige put himself in a good place, but he also feels that the way the division structure is set up is doing the same. Although his time off was less than ideal, the amount the division has changed in that time leaves him looking at a bunch of fresh faces around him in the division. And that could play to his advantage.
“Everybody in front of me, they’ve all kind of fought each other. There’s only a few guys that haven’t fought the champion and fought these other [top] fighters,” he said. “I was ranked fourth in the division. I beat the number three ranked guy and leapfrogged the entire division back in 2017. I had one minor setback and I’ve been working my way up to the top again.”
So where does he feel like an impressive win over Ige would put him? With the UFC machine working the way that it does, it’s hard to ever tell. However, he has a pretty positive outlook on the possibilities.
“You never know with the timing and everything in the UFC,” Emmett said. “If someone gets injured and I can pop in, or if Dana White is happy with my performance and I’m healthy… you never really know.”
He’ll attempt to make Dana happy with that performance when he steps into the featured prelim at this Saturday’s UFC 269 against Dan Ige.
You can hear the entire audio of this interview at 2:10.