Las Vegas, NV — After a year and a half out of action, featherweight Jamall Emmers returned to the octagon at UFC Vegas 69, becoming the first man to defeat Khusein Askhabov.
Askhabov, making his UFC debut off his own extended layoff, had started the night 23-0. That’s now 23-1. As daunting as that record might seem, Emmers said the fight essentially played out as planned.
“He fought a little harder than we expected, but I knew we’d have him, towards the second and third round, it would be my fight,” Emmers (19-6) told media outlets including Cageside Press. “He started to break, and I felt him. I felt like I could fight five rounds, I feel great. I’m glad the fight went the way it went.”
Emmers had an emotional post-fight interview in the cage, which saw him honor his coaches for standing by him. “Just so many emotions went through my head and my body at that moment,” Emmers said afterwards. “Had a lot of things happen through this last year, from the layoff. And then just life, back-to-back, things just happened. Just a relief, I came out on the other side. I’m a different person. I’ve grown a lot, I’ve matured a lot, I just see the world a lot different from a year ago.”
Despite those personal trials, Emmers said there was no fear of not making it back into the cage. “I was willing to go through whatever I had to go through to get back here. If I would of had to wait six more months, I would have waited six more months. It was all in the plan, it happened the way it was supposed to happen. I had to just embrace it, I had to ride the wave, and I rode the wave, and I came out on top.”
— Cageside Press (@Cagesidepress) February 19, 2023
A Miami native, Emmers is hoping to take part in the promotion’s return to the city this April. That would be UFC 287.
“Being able to fight back home, it’s been a while since I’ve been there,” he told Cageside Press. “I’ve been on this journey trying to be a better martial artist, and I had to take a lot of time away just to do that. So even if somebody falls out, I’m willing to pick up that spot. I’m going to take maybe a week break, and get back to it, get back to sharpening my skills. So I’ll be ready to fight whenever.”
Watch the full UFC Vegas 69 post-fight media appearance by Jamall Emmers above.