Emerson predicts a knockout
Interview by David L. Hudson
In combat sports records can be quite deceiving. You can take a fighter with an undefeated record but it could be built on a row of tomato cans in boxing or mediocre opposition in low echelon promotions in MMA. Then, there are other fighters whose records are quite deceiving – they’ve consistently fought tough competition and have endured some losses.
Rob Emerson is one of those fighters. His professional MMA record is 8-7 and he lost his first four professional fights. That’s right his record stood at 0-4. But, a closer look reveals that he made his pro debut against Jens Pulver, a UFC champion and legend of the sport. He has dropped fights to Kurt Pellegrino, Melvin Guillard and other tough fighters. On September 19th he returns to the Octagon at UFC 103 to face Rafael dos Anjos, a warrior who has dropped his last two fights.
Emerson took the time to speak with Fightnews about his upcoming bout, his career and other topics.
Talk about the challenges you face with Rafael dos Anjos who is coming off two losses in the Octagon.
I look at it as both of us are fighting for our jobs. He lost his last two and I lost my last fight in the UFC. I think he has more of a ground attack and is good with leg locks. I am sure that he wants to take me to the ground after I hit him. He does have good cardio and leg attacks so it will be a good challenge.
You started your career 0-4 – was that tough on you?
It was more an experience factor that I didn’t have it early on. Dude, you could have a guy with a 10-0 record if he didn’t fight anybody. I’ve always felt that you get the best experience from the guys you fight. I fought a bunch of tough dudes early but I benefited from it and it made me that much tougher.
What was it like facing Jens Pulver in your first professional MMA fight?
It was cool. I was a huge fan of his and I was thinking how awesome it was that I was fighting him. Little did I know what was in store for me. I was in the worst shape I’ve ever been in in my pro career, but it was a good learning experience.
What are your goals in your career?
I want to break into the top 10 by the end of the year or 2010 at the latest.
Almost all of your losses are by decision. Is that heart and refusal to quit or what?
Part of it is that I’m a tough guy but part of it is that I am not aggressive enough. I’m tough enough to often stop guys from imposing their will on me and stopping me but in the past I haven’t gone ahead and tried to impose my will on my opponents. But, things will change. I am in a complete different camp and have been working with B.J. Penn.
What has it been like working in the Penn camp?
It’s crazy awesome. I mean there are many world-class guys here; it’s a totally different situation for me now.
What was the experience of The Ultimate Fighter like?
It was a great way to get into the UFC that’s for sure. I basically went there for the experience and it was worth it. I fought some tough guys.
Are there any particular fighters that you’d like to face in the near future?
No, I am not looking for anyone in particular. I just want to focus on performing well and improving as a fighter.
What about avenging some of our losses?
I think about it. I guarantee that I could beat every guy that beat me in the past. They did not beat me because they were better fighters than me. I’m in much better shape, more focused and just a better fighter now.
Any prediction for the fight at UFC 103 against dos Anjos?
I’m going to knock him out dude. I don’t think he’s strong enough to take me to the ground. I’m just looking to go out there and knock him out.
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— David L. Hudson Jr. is a feature writer for Fightnews.com and the author of Combat Sports: An Encyclopedia of Wrestling, Fighting and Mixed Martial Arts.