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Josh Emmett makes case to replace Holloway in UFC 272 title fight vs. Alexander Volkanovski

Josh Emmett thinks he’s the perfect candidate to replace the injury Max Holloway against champion Alexander Volkanovski at UFC 272.

Just days after the promotion announced Holloway (23-6 MMA, 19-6 UFC) would be challenging Volkanovski (23-1 MMA, 10-0 UFC) in a trilogy bout on March 5 in Las Vegas, “Blessed” was forced to withdraw due to a lingering injury.

There’s been no formal announcement about whether the fight will be postponed, or if Volkanovski will take on another contender on the same date. If it ends up being the latter, Emmett (17-2 MMA, 8-2 UFC) thinks he deserves serious consideration to step in.

Emmett, No. 6 in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMA Junkie featherweight rankings, is currently on a four-fight winning streak and has won six of his past seven overall dating back to October 2017. Now he wants his chance to become champion.

“This is exactly what I’ve been talking about – I feel like I’m one of the only fighters in the division that has not got to fight one of the top guys,” Emmett told MMA Junkie.

“Volkanovski and I match up stylistically the best. … Sign me up. I’ll be ready to rock. I always wanted to stay ready in case something like this happened, someone falls out of a fight. In the UFC, it’s all about timing. You have to be ready. You have to be able to take opportunities and I’ll never shy away from an opportunity, especially like this. I want that Volkanovski fight.”

Emmett is coming off a unanimous decision win over Dan Ige at UFC 269 in December. It was his first fight following an injury-filled 18-month layoff, but the performance showed he’s still among the elite at 145 pounds.

With a record number of knockdowns in divisional history, Emmett believes his combination of power, speed and grappling makes for a stern test for No. 1-ranked Volkanovski, who has yet to be beaten inside the octagon.

“I think we match up great,” Emmett said. “Similar styles. Both powerful, explosive fighters. Come from wrestling backgrounds. We both have the power to end the fight at any moment. He’s the best. Anyone who has the title at any given moment is the best in the division in my eyes. This is a fight where I want to fight the best, and he’s the best. I think the fans would be pumped to see us fight.”

The UFC’s plans for Volkanovski are unknown at this time, but the champion has historically stated he’s not one to wait for any specific opponent and prefers being as active as possible. Henry Cejudo has also thrown his name in the hat to serve as a replacement, but Emmett thinks he holds an edge over all other options and would provide the most compelling fight.

“He’s been planning to fight for a while,” Emmett said. “He’s the champion, he’s never ventured away from taking a fight. He’s always down to fight everyone and he’s the best in the world. I think this is a fight that excites the fans because they want to see a war and I think him and I both would bring that to the table and we’re so similar in styles. It would just be a phenomenal fight that would go down in the books.”

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