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UFC on FOX 28 preview: Josh Emmett ready to become household name, as well as featherweight champion

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MMA: UFC Fight Night-Gdansk-Arantes vs Emmett Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports

UFC on FOX 28, at least in terms of mainstream appeal, will not dazzle you with star power when the doors open to the Amway Center this Saturday night (Feb., 24, 2018) in Orlando, Florida.

Topped by the featherweight showdown pitting Jeremy Stephens against Josh Emmett, there is little to anchor the sixth of eight straight mixed martial arts (MMA) fight cards offered on cable and network television, as well as pay-per-view (PPV).

The strawweight battle between Tecia Torres and Jessica Andrade will co-headline.

Even the casual fan should be used to Jeremy Stephens at this point. While the running gag is “Who da fook is that guy” — courtesy of a short-lived feud with ex-featherweight kingpin Conor McGregor — “Lil’ Heathen” has been competing inside the Octagon for over 10 years.

Feel old yet?

Like Stephens, his opponent has been around the fight game for the better part of a decade. In fact, Emmett, 32, has been training at Team Alpha Male (TAM) since head coach Urijah Faber opened the joint back in 2004.

But most fans didn't notice the power-punching Californian until he damn-near killed former featherweight title contender Ricardo Lamas on the UFC on FOX 26 main card back in December.

Now that he has your attention, Emmett is ready to stake his claim to the 145-pound title, which could take some time as the winner of Frankie Edgar vs. Brian Ortega at UFC 222 will likely move on to challenge Max Holloway for the division strap at some point this summer.

“I want the winner of that fight,” Emmett told reporters at the UFC on FOX 28 open workouts (via MMA Junkie). “Unless I go out there and have a great performance and maybe they don’t perform as much and for some reason (UFC president Dana White) and the matchmakers think I should get that title shot, then trust me I’ll gladly take that.”

As would Stephens, not doubt.

Emmett (13-1) is 4-1 under the UFC banner and the winner of two straight. While not a tremendous body of work, at least in terms of volume, his punishment of “The Bully” landed him at No. 4 in the official rankings.

But don’t expect him to overlook the No. 7-ranked Stephens (27-14).

“In the best-case scenario, I wish I could go out there and the first punch I land, it’s over,” Emmett said. “But, realistically, it’s probably not going to happen. So I will be prepared for a 25-minute battle, 25-minute war. It will be ‘Fight of the Night.’ It could be a ‘Fight of the Year’ candidate. But it’s going to be a fight for the ages, trust me.”

Wouldn’t be the first time for Stephens.

To see the entire UFC on FOX 28 fight card and TV line up, which was recently shortchanged by one overweight Brazilian, click here.