The rise of Josh Emmett has been a quick one. After starching Ricardo Lamas with one punch back in December, the Team Alpha Male (TAM) standout will have yet another opportunity to improve his divisional ranking later tonight (Sat., Feb. 24, 2018) at UFC on FOX 28 from inside Amway Center in Orlando, Fla., when he takes on featherweight veteran Jeremy Stephens.
Needless to say, Stephens is going to test Emmett at every turn. He’s a skilled veteran with devilish power and is currently experiencing one of the best upticks in performance of his lengthy career. Unlike Emmett, Stephens has already headlined a few UFC events and understands what it takes to pace his output and production in a five-round affair.
Considering Stephens’ track record in UFC, it’s going to be difficult to find a fighter on the featherweight roster with more relevant experience. Luckily for Emmett, he has already demonstrated the ability to punch his way through a lack of experience and heavy odds when he smoked Lamas via knockout at UFC on FOX 26. Not only was “Bully” the first ranked opponent Emmett had ever encountered in UFC, but Emmett only had 30 days to prepare for the fight after filling in for former UFC champion Jose Aldo.
While few mainstream fight fans knew who Emmett was before his incredible finish over Lamas, it’s going to be hard to ignore the 32-year-old’s appeal moving forward. Emmett has always possessed a lot of potential as an up-and-coming prospect under the close watch of TAM head coach Urijah Faber, but he’s finally getting the high-profile matchups that his skill set requires. If it wasn’t for a split-decision loss to lightweight Desmond Green at UFC 210 last year Emmett would be currently undefeated at 14-0. Instead, that lone loss has helped propel Emmett’s urgency inside of the cage, which may or may not have played into his knockout of a former UFC title challenger.
Even though Emmett is unlikely to land a featherweight title shot with a win over Stephens this weekend due to the impending UFC 222 clash between top dogs Frankie Edgar and Brian Ortega, a victory over “Lil Heathen” should land Emmett a No. 1 contender’s bout sometime this summer. That’s incredible considering Emmett made his return to 145 pounds just four months ago.
MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC on FOX 28 fight card, starting with the Fight Pass “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 4:15 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard balance on FOX at 6 p.m. ET, before the FOX main card start time at 8 p.m. ET.