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Emotional Josh Emmett details rough 2020 ahead of UFC 269 return: 'It motivated the hell out of me'

LAS VEGAS – Josh Emmett was fighting back the tears when detailing his tough time off.

Emmett (16-2 MMA, 7-2 UFC), who returns from an 18-month layoff to face Dan Ige (15-4 MMA, 7-3 UFC) in Saturday’s UFC 269 featured prelim, has gone through a lot physically and emotionally during his layoff.

During his “Fight of the Night” win over Shane Burgos in June 2020, Emmett tore his ACL, which required surgery, and he’s been on the road to recovery ever since. Making matters worse, Emmett lost two family members during his time off, which made things that much harder for him to handle.

“2020 was tough for a lot of people, and I lost my older brother and my grandpa, and just like the pain and the sorrow I felt, it was just something different,” Emmett told reporters, including MMA Junkie, during Wednesday’s media day at the UFC Apex. “Even just my mom, the pain just motivated me. When I didn’t want to get up and I was hurt – it was tough. So I funneled that into somewhat positive energy, and it motivated the hell out of me, so this fight means something so big to me.”

He continued, “What I was going through with the knee injury – even my older brother, he went through his whole life, a lot of mental illness, addiction – even my father, I lost him 10 years ago. So I think I’m going to fight someone in a controlled setting, it’s like I’m not scared of anything. The only thing is the loss. I’m scared to lose. That’s the only thing that scares me, but you’ve just got to keep moving forward. You’ve got to realize life is too short. Time goes by too fast. If you’ve been thinking about someone or they’re on your mind, just reach out to them. Say hi, say I love you. Just let them know.”

UFC 269 takes place Saturday at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The main card streams on pay-per-view following prelims on ESPN2 and early prelims on ESPN+.

Originally appeared on


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