Josh Emmett: Mirsad Bektic 'won't be the hammer in this fight' at UFC on ESPN+ 13

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Two of the top rising featherweights, Josh Emmett and Mirsad Bektic, are looking to enter title contention when they clash Saturday at UFC on ESPN+ 13.

And while Emmett (14-2 MMA, 5-2 UFC) believes both he and Bektic (13-1 MMA, 6-1 UFC) possess similar skill sets, he won’t allow Bektic to push the pace and control the fight.

“He’s a tough opponent,” Emmett told MMA Junkie during media day. “I think we’re really evenly matched. I don’t see a lot of holes in his game, but the one thing that separates us is he’s usually the hammer, and he will not bully me. He won’t be the hammer in this fight. He’s never fought anyone like me, either. As soon as I hit him, he’s going to know he’s in for a fight. That’s if he doesn’t go down.”

Emmett’s last two wins have come by way of devastating knockouts, most recently delivering a walkoff KO on Michael Johnson at UFC on ESPN 2.

Since moving down to featherweight, Emmett primarily has fought standing, putting on some of the more exciting fights in the division. He doesn’t want people to forget where he came from, though, as he believes he has the ability to compete wherever the fight goes.

“If you see my UFC fights, people would just think I’m a boxer, but I come from wrestling,” Emmett said. “I’ve wrestled at the highest level, too. I’ve wrestled since I was a little kid through junior college, at the four-year level. I used wrestling as my tool to get my degree, and I’m better than him at wrestling. I’m better than him at wrestling, I’m a better striker, I’m a better jiu-jitsu artist.”

Bektic has shown an impressive ability to control fights, displaying a heavy grappling approach, where he’s been able to constantly take his opponents down. While Emmett prefers to keep putting on emphatic performances, he’s willing to show other wrinkles in his game that many may not be familiar with.

“I’m comfortable wherever the fight goes, it doesn’t really matter to me,” Emmett said. “Maybe I will get to showcase my jiu-jitsu and my wrestling more in this fight. I was saying if you watched any of my fights previously to the UFC, that’s when I’d take people down and use ground and pound and submissions and stuff like that. But since I’m in the UFC, and I know what the fans want to see, they want entertainment, and I know what they want to see, and that’s why I was able to climb the ranks so fast.”

And where does a win over Bektic put Emmett in the ever so competitive featherweight division? He’s not really sure, but he does hope that it elevates him to the top. And he believes Bektic is one of the toughest tests at featherweight.

“Rankings mean absolutely nothing,” Emmett said. “That number next to your name isn’t going to help you in a fight. Anyone can lose on any given day, and I feel like I can beat anyone in this division. But I just have to focus on Mirsad first, because he’s in front of me and one of my most dangerous opponents yet, so I’m going to go out there, I’m going to get a big win and get me closer to that title fight.”

For more on UFC on ESPN+ 13, check out the UFC Schedule.

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