Josh Emmett: Teamwork
Team work makes the dream work, or so the saying goes; Josh Emmett has been a part of Team Alpha Male for his entire MMA career and in a recent interview with SpitballingPod’s Rory Ford he waxed lyrically about how much of an impact Urijah Faber and the team down at Sacramento have had on his career to date.
On February 24th, Josh Emmett will face off against Jeremy Stephens as the headliner for ‘UFC on Fox 28’ in Orlando, Florida; On the night it will ultimately boil down to who performs in the octagon, but as ‘The Grim Reaper’ will tell you, it takes a team effort to ultimately mould the success of a fighter. One man has been consistent throughout the career of Emmett, and that man is UFC Hall of Famer, ‘The California Kid’ – Urijah Faber; ‘He’s had a huge impact on my career’ he stated.
There is no deep and intricate story as to how the paths of the two men crossed paths, instead just the ease of location, but from there the rest is history; He explained ‘I’m just fortunate that I’m from Sacramento, California and I’m lucky that one of the best teams in the world is in my back yard. I started going to Urijah’s gym back in 2005 when it opened. I was interested in fighting and taking some of the regular classes for the public and Urijah came up to me about three months in and he said ‘Are you planning on fighting, or do you have any interest in that?’ and I told him that’s why I was there. He said he saw a lot of potential in me, and so invited me to the pro practices. I started doing those for a few years before I got a wrestling scholarship - I did that because I knew it would obviously help me get better at wrestling, and I wanted to get my degree and then I came back in 2010 to pick up where I left off’.
It’s not just Urijah that has helped Emmett though, it really is a team effort - he describes how Team Alpha Male is home to some of the best and most varied talents in the world and how that all comes together perfectly for a training camp; ‘I’ve been part of this team for over a decade, I’ve seen everyone from champions to title challengers, number one contenders, Hall of Famers and everyone is just so helpful and willing to chip in with everything’ he said, before continuing ‘It works both ways, if someone needs me because I have a similar style to an opponent, then I’ll be that guy for their camp. It’s just amazing to learn from everyone on the team, I’m like a sponge soaking everything up. As far as people on the team, we have people that are decorated wrestlers, boxers, kick-boxers, Olympic level Taekwondo – we literally have everything. We have 2-3 classes scheduled per day, six days a week that we can learn from, and then we also have these other guys that we can learn from on the side. I always go back to it, but I believe this is the best team in the world, there’s no other gym in the world that you can go into and find a bunch of tougher guys. Even our guys that aren’t in the UFC, Bellator or other pro fight leagues give us some of the toughest work’.
The 32 year old upset the odds when he took on Ricardo Lamas at short notice and knocked him out in the first round back in December; As much as Emmett may have been looking for some time off, he was offered the chance to face Stephens (who is also fresh off the back of a big win against Doo Ho Choi) and this was just an opportunity too good to turn down, he explained ‘This will be my third fight in just under four months, so it’s still a short notice fight. I wasn’t expecting to fight this soon - I thought I’d be back in April or May, but they gave me this and I can’t pass up such a good opportunity to headline a huge FOX card’.
When it comes to Jeremy Stephens (or ‘Lil Heathen’ as he’s more affectionately known to his fans), Josh is under no illusions what kind of fighter he’s up against, he said ‘He’s a great fighter. He’s been in the UFC for 11 years and had 40 pro fights, with 27 of them in the UFC, so I know this is going to be the toughest test of my career. I think we have a similar style and this is gonna be a fight of the night, or fight of the year candidate. I think it’s gonna be a real back and forth fight, really suspenseful and it’ll definitely have people on the edge of their seat. This is a fight for the real MMA fans’.
A fighter like Stephens isn’t one that will intimidate Emmett, he’s faced adversity right from the offset of his career, in which he broke his hand in his pro debut; he explained that simply lives with the mindset that he cannot be broken – ‘My mindset is that no matter what, I’m always gonna find a way to win. Nobody is gonna break me, well, they may break me physically, but nobody is gonna break me mentally. I’m just gonna keep coming and coming and the only way that someone can stop me is if they somehow catch me in a submission or knock me out’.
His prediction for the fight is simple - ‘My hand getting raised and then going on to fight for the title. It’s gonna be a fight for the ages’ he said. Regardless of the result, if the fight can even live up to half of what he’s predicting, then we’re in for a real treat.