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Jeremy Stephens praises Josh Emmett as toughest career opponent: ‘That motherf—ker’s like the termin

“He got up like the Undertaker, he’s on a four-fight win streak, he’s probably in line for a title, he could give Alex Volkanovski a run for his money.”

Jeremy Stephens has fought a Murderer’s Row of opponents throughout his nearly 50-fight career.

“Lil Heathen” quickly became a fan favorite upon his arrival in Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) in 2007. Never one to shy away from a challenge, many past and future champions have crossed his path. Win or lose, you know what to expect from the hard-hitting Des Moines, Iowa, native.

When it comes to the toughest man Stephens has fought in his 48-career mixed martial arts (MMA) bouts, however, the name he sees fit for that label may surprise most.

“Without a doubt, Josh Emmett,” Stephens told “I was at Dominick Cruz’s fight and Cynthia Calvillo was close by and I made sure to be like, ‘Yo, Cynthia, you tell Josh Emmett that Jeremy Stephens is a fan and you tell his family that I’m supporting him. I’m really impressed with what he’s done.’ One month before that, I fought Doo Ho Choi and beat him. My coach Eric Del Fierro says, ‘Hey, that kid is gonna do one of two things. One, he’s gonna come back and be the f—king champion. Or two, you just ruined his career.’ Obviously, I ruined his career.”

From late 2017 to mid-2018, Stephens enjoyed an impressive three-fight run where he dispatched of former Strikeforce Lightweight kingpin, Gilbert Melendez, and knocked out Doo Ho Choi, capping the run off with a performance of the night by stopping Josh Emmett in round two (watch highlights).

Emmett’s toughness is no secret years later as Stephens’ finish badly fractured the Featherweight contender’s orbital and cheek bones. He’s since won four straight and overcame a litany of injuries. Just from his fight with Shane Burgos alone, Emmett dealt with: a complete ACL tear, two MCL sprains with partial tearing, Baker’s cyst rupture, four focal impact fractures of the femur on the lateral, and five Chondral defects (cartilage) on the tibia laterally matching impact area.

“One day later, Dana calls me up, ‘Hey, you wanna fight so and so, da-da-da.’ I didn’t even ask who it was. Josh Emmett, boom,” Stephens said. “I f—king put that dude in a body bag, right? I thought he was done. I thought I ruined that guy’s career. No, that motherf—ker’s like The Terminator, bro. He got up like The Undertaker, he’s on a [four] fight win streak, he’s probably in line for a title, [he] could give Alex Volkanovski a run for his money, he’s knocking motherf—kers out, dude, he’s gotta be the toughest guy. There’s guys that beat me like [Jose] Aldo, [Calvin] Kattar who’s a f—kin’ monster. But who I’m most impressed by is Josh Emmett. Dude, I’m a fan. Any time that guy fights, I’m willing to tune in because he doesn’t have that mental block. He’s still going in there f—king dropping bombs and whooping peoples’ ass and is a top guy in the UFC right now. So that dude, hats off to him.”

Stephens makes his Professional Fighter’s League (PFL) debut this Wednesday (April 20, 2022) as the main event of PFL’s 2022 regular season kickoff against Clay Collard.

Originally appeared on


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