Josh “The Fighting Falmer” Emmett was born March 4, 1985 in Phoenix, Arizona, United States. He is the former West Coast Fighting Championship lightweight champion and the current no.6-ranked UFC featherweight with a 17-2 record.
The 36 year-old is also an accomplished BJJ competitor, having won a world championship in the blue belt no-gi division.
Emmett began his martial arts journey at El Camino Fundamental High School in Sacramento, California where he joined the wrestling team. This is where the base of his brawler-wrestler fighting style was born. He continued wrestling through junior college before attending Menlo College to study psychology.
Alongside his studies, Emmett progressed to NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics) wrestling. Then, after a total of 14 years of wrestling, he joined Team Alpha Male under Urijah Faber to begin his MMA career.
He made his professional debut on October 8, 2011 at Capitol Fighting Championship. Despite breaking his hand during the first round, he won the fight by unanimous decision.
After a 10-month layoff, Emmett was scheduled for his second professional fight but another broken hand cancelled the fight on short notice. It’s safe to say that injury has plagued Emmett’s career right from the start.
His career would soon pick up though, as he won the West Coast Fighting Championship lightweight title on November 15, 2014. The fight was initially awarded to his opponent Brandon Ricetti as Emmett knocked him out with a supposedly illegal knee in round 5, however the decision was overturned and ‘The Fighting Falmer’ went on to defend his title.
Eventually, 3 days away from his second scheduled title defence on May 7, 2016, it was announced that Emmett had signed with the UFC and would make his debut just 4 days later. He beat Jon Tuck by unanimous decision despite suffering a fractured finger in the first round.
Recently, he returned after an 18-month layoff with a horrific knee injury to defeat rising star Dan Ige at UFC 269 (on December 11, 2021).
With the UFC’s featherweight division in desperate need of new faces to challenge the unwavering Alexander Volkanovski, could Josh Emmett be one fight away from dethroning the champ?
You’ve had the backstory, so you know what’s coming next…so let’s get into “The Fighting Falmer” Josh Emmett’s Top 5 MMA Finishes! (in descending order)
5. Vs. Mike Ryan – West Coast FC 6 (Aug. 3, 2013)
This fight marked Emmett’s second ever professional fight after his series of hand injuries following his debut. Mike Ryan came into the main card featherweight bout at 1-5 – not the best record but still abundantly more experienced than Emmett.
In round 1, Emmett’s signature forward pressure backed Ryan up against the cage. Just 50 seconds into the fight, Emmett dropped his opponent with a huge right knee to the head.
Quickly following up on the floor, Josh locked up an arm-in guillotine but abandoned it in favour of striking his grounded opponent.
Ryan regained his guard, looking for a pendulum sweep, but Emmett kept his weight low and landed additional ground and pound from top position.
When Ryan tried to wrestle up onto a single leg takedown, Emmett easily defended it and took his opponent’s back. As his adversary tried to turtle up, “The Fighting Falmer” switched to a guillotine choke and fell to his back before getting the tap at 1:52 of round 1.
4. Vs. Noah Schnable – West Coast FC 7 (Nov. 16, 2013)
In Emmett’s third fight, he took on 4-11-1 featherweight, Noah Schnable just 3 months after his previous fight.
Round 1 saw Emmett shoot for a double leg takedown, transition to a body lock, and launch Schnable through the air. As they landed, Schnable tried to lock up a guillotine but Emmett transitioned to the opposite side of the choke and landed some short elbows on the ground.
Schnable managed to move his feet onto Josh’s hips and push him off in an attempt to get back to his feet. However, Emmett tossed his opponent’s legs aside and landed in side control.
Posturing up, Emmett stunned Noah with a right hand and followed up with several more on his opponent.
The referee then stepped in to make it a TKO victory for Emmett at just 45 seconds into round 1, seeing him rise to an undefeated 3-0.
3. Vs. Christos Giagos – West Coast FC 16 (Jan. 23, 2016)
In his first defence of the West Coast Fighting Championship lightweight title, Emmett faced Christos Giagos in one of the most high-octane MMA fights you’d ever see! Giagos came in at 11-4 whilst Emmett had risen to 8-0 by this point.
The start of round 1 saw Emmett floored by a double leg, scrambling to escape Giagos’ side control. Back on the feet, Emmett landed a jab followed by an overhand right that rocked his opponent but couldn’t put him away.
Both fighters continued by mixing their techniques up beautifully. Emmett switched between orthodox and southpaw stances, targeting the midsection with body kicks, and proved the resolve of his chin after absorbing a flying knee.
In round 2, Emmett fended off a takedown attempt before feinting a jab and landing a massive overhand right, putting Giagos on wobbly-leg street again.
Later in the round, Emmett looked for a double leg takedown of his own, only Giagos dug in an overhook and threw Josh with his own momentum.
After landing on the bottom of side control, Emmett scrambled back to his feet to be met with a huge knee that opened a cut on the top of his head.
The round ended with a brawling exchange in which Emmett rocked Giagos with another big right hand.
In round 3, Emmett was more playful with feinting level changes until he repeated his jab feint followed by an overhand right combination.
Giagos fell to the canvas with follow-up strikes from Emmett before the referee stepped in, making the fight a TKO victory for “The Fighting Falmer” at 2:21 of round 3.
In his post-fight interview, Emmett called for the UFC to sign him. Sure enough, 3 days before his next title defence against Joshua Aveles in West Coast Fighting Championship, he got the UFC call and filled in on short notice against Jon Tuck in Rotterdam.
2. Vs. Michael Johnson – UFC on ESPN 2 (Mar. 30, 2019)
Coming off his first ever loss by stoppage to Jeremy Stephens, Josh Emmett looked to get back on track against former lightweight title challenger Michael Johnson.
Emmett arrived with a 13-2 record whilst Johnson had more than double the experience at 19-13.
Round 1 was a cagey affair with Johnson’s footwork and head movement preventing Emmett from getting his striking going.
Johnson clipped him on a couple of occasions – once with a right hook as Emmett waded into range and another with a thunderous body kick. It wasn’t until the very end of the round when Emmett pieced a combination together, but with little effect.
In round 2, Emmett started strongly, landing a head kick and a perfectly-angled left hook as he waded into range, switching through stances.
The round turned in Johnson’s favour when he found his timing and seemed to tee off on Emmett at will. A jab-straight combo got through at will as Emmett struggled to find the target, courtesy of Johnson’s slick head movement. It wasn’t looking good for the scorecards heading into the third round.
Round 3 followed in similar fashion, except Emmett was able to find single shots before his opponent quickly got out of range. He managed a head kick and a hard hook to the body in the first half of the round.
Johnson found a home for his jab and caught Emmett with an uppercut as he retreated to range.
However, nearing the end of the fight, Emmett feinted a jab and planted a massive overhand right straight across Johnson’s chin, sending him hurtling to the canvas…with no need for follow-up shots.
Emmett rescued this one at the end and was the winner by KO at 4:14 of round 3.
Considering that Emmett was likely losing the fight until the final minute makes this cold, KO victory even more satisfying. It was also voted the 9th Best MMA Knockout of the Year 2019, by Tapology.
1. Vs. Shane Burgos – UFC Vegas 3 (June 20, 2020)
Up in the co-main event slot, Emmett came in as the underdog for this fight with a 15-2 record. The highly touted Shane Burgos came in at 13-1.
Emmett’s underdog status was exacerbated 17 seconds into round 1 when he tore his ACL. Burgos was quick to focus leg kicks on the injury but Emmett continued, landing his overhand right repeatedly.
Burgos’ chin held up as he targeted the injured leg and found success in his long jab throughout the remainder of the round.
In round 2, Emmett somehow poured on more pressure, still landing his overhand right on the resolute Burgos.
Burgos began throwing an inside leg kick at the end of his combinations, taking Emmett’s base out from underneath him. Emmett had to rely on his head movement to evade shots as his footwork was massively impacted by the blown-out ACL.
In round 3, Emmett looked as though he might finish the fight. Dropping back into a southpaw stance, he slipped a jab from Burgos and landed a left straight that sat his opponent down.
Emmett then rushed to the canvas to ground and pound but Burgos kept his guard and managed to turn out, returning to his feet.
Two massive overhand rights from Emmett didn’t deter Burgos until a ducking left overhand put him down again. However, once again Burgos pushed off Emmett’s hips and got back to his feet.
The round ended with another violent exchange of combinations from both men but they both managed to stay standing after this all-out war, with Emmett winning the fight by unanimous decision.
Both fighters received a ‘Fight of the Night’ bonus and it was ranked the 5th Best MMA Fight of 2020, by Tapology.
As far as injuries are concerned, Emmett left with a torn ACL, partially torn MCL, and impact fractures on both his femur and tibia (thigh and shin bones).
However, after an 18-month layoff, Emmett returned to beat Dan Ige in a potential, future title eliminator.