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UFC Orlando video: Josh Emmett on Jeremy Stephens - ‘He’s had his time’

The UFC’s number four featherweight Josh Emmett spoke with Bloody Elbow about his crazy KO of Ricardo Lamas, training with Cody Garbrandt for Jeremy Stephens, and even gives us a time frame for the return of Chad Mendes.

The UFC’s number four-ranked featherweight Josh Emmett is looking build upon his recent highlight reel knockout of Ricardo Lamas, by besting longtime UFC veteran Jeremy Stephens in the main event at UFC on FOX 28 on February 24, 2018. Emmett scored the walk-off KO with a brutal left hook at UFC on FOX 26, this past December that instantly shook up the featherweight rankings, catapulting the Team Alpha Male product into the top five. With a regal win over Stephens, Emmett believes he will position himself next in line for a shot at the 145-pound crown. Before locking horns with the UFC’s number eight-ranked featherweight, Emmett caught up with Bloody Elbow to detail what it felt like to achieve such an epic KO, talk training with TAM’s top talents, and to unveil his timeline for his UFC title shot.

Next Saturday’s UFC on FOX 28 main card will air live on FOX at 8:00 P.M. ET with the prelims starting at 5:00 P.M. ET on the same channel. The exclusive Fight Pass prelims will begin at 4:00 P.M. ET.

  • You recently had your first UFC featherweight fight back in October of last year at UFC Fight Night 118 in Poland. Perhaps it was the Jack Daniels playing tricks on me, but did you drop Felipe Arantes four times in that opening round?

“Yeah, I set a record, a UFC record. First person to ever knock someone down four times in a single round. It was awesome. I didn’t get the finish but I at least got to showcase some of my standup, and just show the 45 division that I have power.”

  • Do you think there should be some sort of limit to how many times you can drop someone before the fight is waved off, just like some of the other combat sports?

“Yeah, maybe because boxing is three, right? Three knockdowns, or kickboxing, three in a single round, that’s a TKO. I don’t know, maybe they’ll implement that into the rules here in the future. maybe it wouldn’t be bad to have a three knockdown rule, or maybe a four knockdown rule, and that could seal the deal.”

  • The last time we saw you in the Octagon, you landed the cleanest left hook that anyone could ask for, scoring a walk-off knockout of Ricardo Lamas at UFC on FOX 26. What was going through your mind at that moment and did you even feel the punch connect?

“I definitely felt the punch. It’s just was one of those punches, like in sparring, when you’re sparring someone and you hit him just clean. Maybe it’s not the biggest shot or the most powerful punch, but you can feel like the knuckles in your glove and it’s perfect placement. That’s exactly what I felt. I felt my two big knuckles in my left hand when I connected, and I just knew.”

  • Lamas was unconscious before he even hit the ground and you opted to not follow up with an academic ground strike. For why?

“So, I looked and he was out and that’s why there was no reason to follow up and hit him while he was down, because it’s already a brutal sport and that could really be like a career ending situation if I were to pull the ol’ Dan Hendo and jump on him with a huge big bomb or an elbow. I don’t know; that’s just not me, so I’m not going to do that if someone’s down. I’m not going to kick them while they’re down.”

  • You missed weight for the Lamas fight; did that prevent you from receiving any bonus money?

“Yeah, that was tough. I took it on a three-week notice. I was heavy at the time. I’m always in good shape but I wasn’t fight shape by no means. It was an opportunity I could not pass up. I knew I could beat him; I knew it would put me where I am right now. Even though I missed the weight, I forfeited 30% of my purse, and normally, people give up 20%. They took 30 because that’s what Lamas and his camp wanted, and then I was excluded from the performance bonus that I was a shoe in for, and I got hit with some other foreign Canadian taxes. So, it cost me like $74,000 but it was a good investment and the win was more important, and that’ll be a highlight reel knockout for years to come.”

“Yeah, that’s what it seems like. That’s why I had a little insight. Chad fought Lamas, TKO’d him, Danny same thing. It’s a confidence booster for me when my training partner and coach, they fought him and they’re telling me, ‘he will not be able to handle your power.’ They just kept saying, ‘you’re going to knock him out. If you land one clean punch you will knock him out.’ He cannot handle my movement; he can’t handle my power or speed. So, I was like, ‘okay guys, I’m trusting you.’ Then we went out there and did hit that.”

  • You were the co-main event when you fought Lamas and now here you are headlining UFC on FOX 28 with the number eight Jeremy Stephens. What does it mean for you to get that main event slot?

“To me, it’s no added pressure. It’s nothing I haven’t done. I know I’m on a higher platform fighting for the UFC, but when I was fighting in Sacramento for West Coast Fighting Championship, I was their lightweight champion. So I was always the co-main event; I was always the main event. It’s nice. More people will tune in. More people will see me fight, whereas when I was fighting on Fight Pass and fighting on the prelims, I know a lot of people didn’t really get to; the fight fans, like the true fight fans knew who I was, but like I talk about the casual fans that just tune in for big Fight Night cards or the main event or Pay-Per-View, they didn’t know who I was. So, it’s nice to just get the exposure. There’s no bigger exposure than fighting on big FOX in the main event.”

  • How do you think your style will clash with that of UFC veteran Jeremy Stephens?

“I think Stephens and I match up really well together. I keep saying it’s similar to fighting myself. I know we both come from wrestling backgrounds. He’s known for hitting hard. He’s strong; he explodes, but man, I’m known for hitting hard, too. You ask anyone in our room, at Team Alpha Male, who hits the hardest and I guarantee the majority of them will say me. He’s a veteran; he’s had his time. He’s gotten close, he’s had his time, he’s fought the who’s who at 55, it’s 145, but this is my time. I’m going to go out there and shock the world again.”

  • Are you doing anything specific at TAM to train for Stephens?

“I don’t really focus too much on my opponent. I believe in the process, I believe in the system at Team Alpha Male. We practice everything, so I just do that. The only thing I change up is my sparring partners, who have similar body types, who can emulate my opponent at the time, and we have a room that can do that. So even right now, I’m working with Chad again a lot, Chad Mendes. I’m working with Darren Elkins and even Cody Garbrandt. Cody, you know he’s smaller than Stephens, but he’s a way better boxer; he’s way faster, so when I can get Cody’s timing and see the type of speed he possesses, I’ll see Stephens stuff all day.”

  • When will we see Chad Mendes back in the Octagon?

“I think he’s going to be fighting in June or July sometime. Hopefully he’ll get an opponent soon, maybe February, March. So maybe he’ll get an opponent in March and he’ll be right back in camp. He’s been training and doing his Finz and Featherz business and doing well there and just enjoying life. He’ll be back fighting soon.”

  • Is there a human alive that is tougher than Darren Elkins?

“I don’t know, man. He’s so damn tough. I don’t know what you can do to that guy. No matter what, you kick him, punch him, put him in a bad position, you can never count him out. He’s so tough and durable and he’ll find a way to get out of that, or just overcome some type of adversity and come back and find a way to win. That guy is inspiring and he’s getting better and better. Man, he’s a force to be reckoned with.”

  • How close do you think you are to a title shot?

“I really think a big win over Stephens, I’m there. With Ortega and Edgar fighting now, I feel like the winner is going to get Holloway. They’ll fight; there’s no one left in front of me, so I feel like I go out there, I perform well, maybe I can put Stephens away. He’s only been finished by Yves Edwards. I think I’m next in line.”

Watch number fourJosh Emmett clock go to war with number eight Jeremy Stephens at UFC on FOX 28 on February 24, 2018. Stay tuned to Bloody Elbow for all of your UFC event coverage including interviews, play-by-play, highlights, and more!

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