Josh Emmett planned to have the best performance of his career in the UFC in the co-main event ESPN 11, but 15 seconds into the first round, disaster struck.
While exchanging shots with opponent Shane Burgos in the feet, Emmett’s left leg hyperextended when he was coming down to launch a punch. Immediately, he knew that something had gone terribly wrong.
“It was all marked,” Emmett said when he spoke to MMA Fighting. “The biggest fight of my career to date. I was on ESPN. Everyone was looking at him and for the first 15 seconds, I was wrong. I did it to myself. I hyperextended my knee.
“I have never experienced anything like this. It just had no stability. I can’t even describe the pain. It hurts like hell. “
Despite the excruciating pain, Emmett didn’t even contemplate that the fight was over just because his knee was severely compromised.
He didn’t find out the extent of his injuries until Monday, but Team Alpha Male featherweight knew his leg was in bad shape as soon as he tried to step forward the first time.
“Every time I stepped on it, it doubled over,” Emmett said. “She would surrender. 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 like fucking this up.
“Fourteen and a half minutes more, I just had to bite the nozzle and adjust my game plan, basically everything right there, biting and throwing bombs and just throwing the kitchen sink at him.”
Emmett later revealed that he suffered a torn ACL, a partial MCL tear, a “focal impact” fracture of the femur, and damaged cartilage in the leg.
While he was somehow able to disguise the extent of his injury for most of the fight, Emmett says his knee affected everything he was doing and prevented him from doing much more.
“I couldn’t throw a right kick because my [left] the knee would buckle, ”Emmett said. “I couldn’t throw combinations or go to the liver because every time I leaned to the left, it gave up. He was kicking me with those internal kicks and every time he did that, he would look worse now watching the fight. He would kick me and my knee would just give up. It was hard.
“He is an incredible guy. Shane Burgos is a tough competitor. It was everything I expected, but I don’t think I’ll come out of the second round if I have two legs. “
Miraculously, Emmett even managed to drop Burgos with a couple of his best punches that were thrown with less speed because his knee was badly damaged. Once the fight went to the ground, Emmett really couldn’t take advantage of the position thanks to his leg giving up there as well.
“I know I wasn’t throwing everything away,” Emmett explained. “I was hitting him with hard shots but I wasn’t throwing 100 percent because I couldn’t sit on my shots. I was just blowing them up. That’s why I say, even when I dropped it and I could have pounced and tried to finish him off, but he was a bit stuck on his guard.
“One of the times he turned his back on me, I couldn’t push my leg. I couldn’t get to him. I couldn’t take his back. When he stood up, he would have kicked him but he couldn’t kick with his right leg. “
Considering that the injury occurred almost immediately after the fight started, Emmett could have easily faded away or even asked for an exit after he somehow reached the end of the first round.
It turns out that those thoughts never crossed his mind.
“I had to dig deep because I’m thinking at the time that I’m not going to go home with a check because of this strange accident,” Emmett said. “I said it before, my mental strength is my greatest attribute. I’m not just saying that. I am willing to go through hell and suffer a lot of pain while raising my hand, it is all worth it. That is something you cannot teach.
“I will never look for a way out. To get me out, you have to knock me out or finish me. That is not me. I have never been like this and I will never be like this ”.
Emmett subsequently criticized his performance despite the fact that it was three rounds against a top 10 opponent on a broken leg.
A few days later, you can look back with a little more reverence.
“I am definitely happy with the result,” Emmett said. “I was hard on myself because I was going to show a lot more of my game. I always go there and just hit. I was going to mix a lot of things. I was going to go in and out of class completely and make it look easy.
“I suffered that [knee injury] and I just had to get it out. Honestly, I was more angry at the knee, but it was a great achievement on a tough opponent. “
Emmett wanted nothing more than to shine under the spotlight with his fight against Burgos so that he would be presented with even greater opportunities in the future. While the knee injury dramatically altered the outcome of the fight, Emmett is still happy to have earned the victory, a performance bonus, and hopefully the respect of fans, critics, and the rest of the weight division. pen.
“Instead of me just going there and knocking him out, I’m glad how it was,” Emmett said. “Because I just had to fight against that [injury] and we did a great performance. Everyone is talking about it. “