Josh Emmett has a lot riding on the outcomes at UFC 284.
King of Team Alpha Male, the fighter is trying to win the UFC interim featherweight title. He will face Yair Rod in the comain event. A victory there will put him in line to then battle for the undisputed 145-pound title presumably against Alexander Volkanovski, who is featured on the same card in the main event against UFC lightweight champion Islam Makhachev.
Volkanovski seeking a second UFC title prevented Emmett from potentially getting a shot right away at an undisputed belt, but truth be told, he backed the featherweight champion’s decision to move up to lightweight for at least one night.
“Even though I had been in this holding position before getting the interim shot, Emmett said to MMA Fighting. “He’s undefeated in the UFC. This is his crazy winning streak. He is the No. 1 pound-for-pound player. 1. A lot of people are going up and trying to accomplish that champ-champ status.
” I have believed that he deserves it all the time. We’re going to fight eventually. He deserves it.”
While Emmett’s attention is on Rodriguez and Saturday’s fight, Emmett will be keeping an eye out for UFC 284’s main show because it may impact his future.
If Volkanovski loses, then the champ simply returns to featherweight where he will defend his title against either Emmett or Rodriguez.
On the flip side, Volkanovski successfully claiming a second UFC title could possibly delay his next fight at 145 pounds, although he’s stated numerous times that become a two-division champion would ultimately fulfill a bigger goal to stay active defending belts across multiple weight classes.
Emmett believes Volkanovski is lying to him that he will be returning to featherweight, even though he carries an additional belt with him after Saturday.
” I do believe that if he is able to capture the 155 title [that he will come back to featherweight],” Emmett stated. “He’s a great champion, a great guy, and I feel like he wants to do that. He wants to try and win the title and then be active in both divisions and keep them moving. We haven’t seen that yet, but I do believe he will.
” I know that a lot people count him out as if he cannot win. You can’t count Volkanovski out. I know how good Islam is but I’m definitely not counting Volkanovski out.”
Emmett admitted that he doesn’t get involved in fights other than his or his team’s, but he is interested to see how Volkanovski does against Makhachev at light heavyweight.
Of course, Emmett’s main concern is beating Rodriguez and then becoming undisputed UFC champion, but he can’t deny the interest in taking a belt away from a two-division champion, which only raises the stakes should he get Volkanovski next.
“Usually, I don’t care who wins or loses unless they’re on my team but for this one, I’m definitely rooting for Volkanovski,” Emmett said. It’s going be an exciting fight if I can win the interim title, and then Emmett goes out to become the champ-champ.
“I’m definitely rooting for the guy. I’m pulling for him and I hope he gets the job done.”
Volkanovski will be fighting an uphill battle as a near 3-to-1 underdog to Makhachev, who has looked virtually unbeatable during his current 11-fight win streak, which includes a dominant submission victory over ex-UFC champion Charles Oliveira.
That said, Emmett believes there are still advantages that Volkanovski maintains at lightweight and that anyone discounting his chances at UFC 284 might want to rethink their assessment.
“The feet will be very competitive,” Emmett stated. “Of course, Islam has better wrestling and he’s a strong, physical guy, but like Volkanovski has said, he’s come down from 200 pounds. It’s something I feel almost the same. When I wrestle with 185 or 205 [pounds] people, I don’t feel that I am at a disadvantage. Although [that big], would have the upper hand, I can still reach inside and get to his point of view.
“I know how good Chad Mendes’ wrestling is and Chad would take him down and Volkanovski would just get back up, and he’s gotten so much better since they fought. Their fight .”
is exciting to me.