Josh Emmett isn’t planning on letting his knee injuries sideline him for too long.
Emmett suffered a completely torn ACL, an MCL sprain with partial tearing, a Baker’s cyst rupture, a focal impact fracture of his femur and a chondral defect on his tibia in a unanimous decision win over Shane Burgos at UFC on ESPN 11.
Just 17 seconds into the fight, Emmett hyperextended his left knee, which resulted in an array of injuries. But he was able to fight through it and even dropped Burgos on numerous occasions as the fight went on. He picked up the “Fight of the Night” bonus, extending his winning streak to three.
While a knee injury of this serious nature is expected to keep him sidelined for around a year, Emmett is looking to defy the odds.
“Typical ACL people say 9-12 months,” Emmett told MMA Junkie. “But look at Tony Ferguson – he had a complete tear, ACL and a ton other things going on. He did a reconstruction and he fought like four and a half or five months after the surgery. So I think everyone’s different.
“I think with my diet and how dedicated I’ll be during rehab – they say 9-12 months. But that’s on an ordinary person. I guarantee I’ll beat that. I could see myself fighting five to seven months or something. I’ll beat whatever the time frame is. I heal fast and I’ll be more motivated. I’ll be more dedicated. I have so much discipline that I’ll strive to beat that timeframe.”
Emmett was forced to sit out for 13 months after suffering numerous facial fractures in a stoppage loss to Jeremy Stephens in February 2018. He returned emphatically with two straight knockouts over Michael Johnson and Mirsad Bektic, but was sidelined once again due to injury before returning to face Burgos almost a year later.
No stranger to adversity, the featherweight contender was initially disappointed with his showing against Burgos, but admits it’s likely because the news of his knee injuries overshadowed his performance.
Emmett wasn’t able to sit down on his punches like he would have wanted to and thinks he would have been able to put Burgos away if his knee wasn’t compromised.
“It was a good fight, but I was so pissed about more the knee just because I keep having these long layoffs,” Emmett said. “I was out 13 months, I came back, I won two fights. I had the momentum going and then I was out another almost 11 months. I won the other night and then it turns out I could be out another nine months. I’m like – man, it’s frustrating.
“I was so pissed about the knee. But my performance – it was a good fight, but it wasn’t what I wanted to do. I wanted to go out there and I was going to really show a different part of my game that I haven’t showed to the fans and everything. But I felt like I went in there and kind of did the same thing that I always do, or they think I’m going to do, but I did it on one leg.”