Along with a $50,000 bonus for Fight of the Night, Josh Emmett also took home a few injuries after Saturday’s UFC Vegas 3. His three-rounder with Shane Burgos left him with a complete ACL tear, an MCL sprain with partial tearing, among others.
In a recent interview with MMA Fighting, Emmett recounted how he fought through nearly 15 minutes of action with only one properly-functioning leg.
“I had everything dialed in,” Emmett said. “Biggest fight of my career to date. It was on ESPN. Everyone around the world was watching it and the first 15 seconds, I stepped wrong. I did it to myself. I hyperextended my knee.
“I’ve never experienced anything like that. I just had no stability. I can’t even describe the pain. It hurt like hell.”
Without knowing the full extent of the injury yet, Emmett felt his knee buckle every time he applied weight on it.
“Every time I would step on it, it would buckle. It would give out,” he recalled. “I think most people would have quit or I think they would have looked for a way out. I worked too hard for that. I was just like screw this.
“Fourteen and a half more minutes, I just had to bite down on the mouthpiece and adjust my game plan, basically everything right there, just bite down and throw bombs and just throw the kitchen sink at him.”
With his leg compromised and unable to throw proper kicks, Emmett relied on his hands to do the work. One of them landed cleanly and dropped Burgos.
“I know I wasn’t throwing everything,” he explained. “I was hitting him with hard shots but I was not throwing 100 percent because I wasn’t able to sit down on my punches. I was just winging them. That’s why I say, even when I dropped him and I could have pounced and tried to finish him but I was kind of stalling in his guard.
“I had to dig deep cause I’m thinking right then I’m not going home with one check because of this freak accident,” Emmett added. “I’ve said it before, my mental toughness is my greatest attribute. I don’t just say that. I’m willing to go through hell and suffer a great deal of pain as long as I get my hand raised, it’s all worth it. That’s something you cannot teach.
“I will never look for a way out. To take me out, you have to knock me out or finish me. That’s just not me. I’ve never been that way and I’ll never be that way.”
The 35-year-old Team Alpha Male fighter is now on a three-fight win streak as he sits at the number eight spot of the UFC’s official featherweight rankings.