Octagon Oracles: Josh Fremd

Grade: B-

After earning a UFC contract with his submission victory at FAC 12: Lookin’ for a Fight, middleweight Josh Fremd will take advantage of a short-notice opportunity to make his UFC debut on Saturday against Anthony Hernandez.

Standing at 6’4”, Fremd is a sizeable middleweight and makes ample use of that frame when striking. The Pennsylvania native will throw a stiff jab to both the body and head of his opponents, often faking it high before throwing it to the midsection. He relies heavily on that jab and outside low kick to dictate the pace of fights, as Fremd is most comfortable when he’s able to walk his opponents down around the edge of the cage. While he doesn’t throw his punches in combination as much as I’d like to see, wins like his consecutive first-round knockouts of Antonio Jones and Bruno Oliveira show that he clearly has power in his hands.

While Fremd prefers to strike, he’s also willing to mix in takedowns and will take advantage of opportunities to control opponents on the ground. He has three rear-naked choke victories on his record, including against Joel Bauman at FAC 12 where Fremd landed a hard right hand on Bauman before slamming him to the mat and locking in the choke. While he landed a good double-leg in the third round of his fight with Renato Valente, his preferred method of taking opponents down is via body lock in order make use of his size and outmuscle the opposition. If he can’t get the takedown from this position Fremd also uses some very effective knees from the clinch, which he used to finish Lamar Gosey in the first round of their bout in 2020.

Fremd’s most recent loss came against current UFC middleweight Gregory Rodrigues when Fremd challenged for the LFA middleweight title in 2021. The fight lasted just over two minutes and Fremd was rocked by a right hand from Rodrigues. Despite surviving that initial moment he never seemed to fully get his legs steady, and Rodrigues was able to finish him with a 1-2 combination not long after. Fremd was also dropped in the first-round of his fight with Renato Valente after controlling most of the round, but was able to recover and ended up earning 30-27 scorecards from all three judges. He’ll have to be wary of some of the harder hitters in the UFC’s middleweight division, and I’d also like to see how he handles opponents that press forward on him with volume and take away his ability to control the pace of the fight.

Riding high after his upset submission victory over Rodolfo Vieira last year, Anthony Hernandez will find himself at a considerable size disadvantage in this late-notice switch of opponents. That should certainly benefit Fremd, as he’s looked at his best when fighting smaller opponents and has had some struggles against opponents like Rodrigues that are closer to his size. He can hit the ground running in the UFC if he’s successful with this short-notice opportunity, but he may encounter some difficult style matchups in the middleweight division going forward.

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