With an 8-2 pro record, the Factory X team in his corner and plenty of potential, Josh Fremd was on the right track to a UFC contract.
That wasn’t enough for the Pittsburgh native, so when he got the call to fight Joel Bauman on an FAC card to be featured on “Dana White’s Lookin’ for a Fight,” he decided to go even further in his quest to get to the Octagon.
“I quit my job and was just living off the sponsorships that I got for that fight,” Fremd said. “I told my girl, just give me a month or so. Let me really focus, really dive in.”
It wasn’t the first time Fremd got out of his comfort zone.
“I needed to grow as a fighter and I needed to be uncomfortable again,” he said of his 2019 move from Pittsburgh to Colorado. “It was between Florida or Colorado, and I gave Colorado a chance. I thought originally Florida was where I was gonna be at. And I came out here and I absolutely fell in love with it.”
It was a roll of the dice, and so was the Bauman fight, especially with all eyes on him entering the card in Missouri. But he wasn’t feeling any outside pressure; all he was concerned with was getting his hand raised and doing what he came to do.
“I heard people saying that and my coaches were telling me that, but I don't really think like that, especially if you saw the fights right after me,” he said of the pre-fight hype. “The (Eduardo) Dantas guy got a crazy head kick, Isaac (Dulgarian) goes out there and just mauls his guy, so there were really impressive performances after me, and in the back when they were doing all the decision making, it got a little dicey. I wasn't sure if I was actually gonna get it. So I put no pressure on myself - I said I just need to go out there and perform like myself. It was a slow start, for sure, and I was not happy with the entire performance, but I am happy that I was able to get the finish and do what I was supposed to do.”
What the 28-year-old was supposed to do was show that he was ready for the UFC and had outgrown the regional scene. Mission accomplished.
“That is something that I have been working on for so long because I do know there's levels to this and I've always wanted to go out there and look like I belong. Not just go out there and wing stuff and get lucky knockouts - just look like an actual professional fighter and, honestly, after that fight, I can say that in my mind I always wanted to believe that I belong at the table. I want a seat at the table. And after I lost to (Gregory) Rodrigues in the title fight of LFA (in May 2021), I went back and rebuilt and looked at some things, and then, finally, after that FAC fight I was like, physically, yeah, I have the skill set, I have everything, but I wanted to make sure that my mind was there. My mind was right and ready for the moment because that's a huge thing. If you get there too early and you just dud out, that's not what I wanted. I wanted to be able to get there, look like I belong and then eventually go prove that I belong and then be there for a while. I don't want to be an in-and-out type of guy.”
On Saturday, with his seat at the table secured, Fremd now begins his next fighting chapter against Anthony Hernandez. The short-notice assignment isn’t an easy one, but Fremd likes that. The question is, which version of “Fluffy” will show up? The one who finished Junyong Park and Rodolfo Vieira or the one who got finished by Markus Perez and Kevin Holland?
Josh Fremd doesn’t care. He’s here to fight any version of anyone on the roster.
“Sometimes he shows really high potential and really good things; sometimes not so much,” he said. “I hope I get the best Anthony Hernandez showing up that night because I want to be able to say that I fought the best version of him and I was able to get a win.”
UFC 273: Volkanovski vs The Korean Zombie took place on Saturday, April 9, 2022, live from a sold out VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida. See the Final Results, Official Scorecards and Who Won Bonuses — and relive the action on UFC Fight Pass!