The middle child in a group of six kids can have it rough. In the world of birth order, that’s like being a lost soul. You can either wander aimlessly or put on a continuous fight for relevance.
Josh Fremd is one such middle child. His mom, a nurse, and his dad, a doctor and former minor league baseball player, raised Josh and his five siblings. Athletics were always his thing, and that naturally morphed into a fight life.
“I was always just a rough kid,” Fremd told Combat Press. “I was always into fitness. I was always into just being rough and doing stuff like that. So, when I got into high school and found out what wrestling was, I just fell in love with it.
“I got into fighting, really, over an ex-girlfriend in high school. I was in football and baseball. That was my life. Baseball was what I really wanted to do. I got into wrestling in eighth grade, because a kid talked me into wrestling. I joined the wrestling team and then, halfway through high school, I started getting into fights.
“I wasn’t getting into fights in school, but I started liking fighting, and it was a little more free than football and baseball, which were more restricted. Finally, one day, I came home from high school and Googled MMA gyms near me, and I found a gym.”
Fremd, who is from Connellsville, Pa., started training at Uniontown Fight Club. From there, he went to college at Slippery Rock University, north of Pittsburgh.
“I trained with everyone in Pittsburgh,” Fremd said. “I was only with Uniontown Fight Club for maybe two to three years, and when I went to college is when I immersed myself in the MMA scene. I trained with Chris Dempsey, Adam Milstead and Khama Worthy.”
Another notable friend and mentor of Fremd is Nick “Nyquil” Browne, who trains out of Uniontown. Browne is currently on a three-fight winning streak, including back-to-back wins in the Legacy Fighting Alliance. Browne sits at 10-1 as a pro.
“That’s my dude,” Fremd said of Browne. “We met in the gym, and he’s always been like an older brother to me.”
The 26-year-old Fremd kicked off his own career at 3-1 before earning a middleweight title shot in Pinnacle FC about 22 months ago. He won by split decision over Travis Davis.
“After my last pro fight — I won my first pro title in December 2018 — I had a connection with Florida and Sanford MMA, and I have a couple teammates down there that I went to college with,” Fremd explained. “I was going to go to Florida, but I had a friend [in Denver] I used to train with in Pittsburgh, and he was telling me it’s awesome out here, and I need to come try it out and see if I liked it. My girlfriend is also in the Air Force, and she found a job out here that would make it easier for both of us to move out here and give it a shot. I fell in love with it.”
In March 2019, Fremd and his girlfriend Jenna made the move to the Mile High City to join the team at Factory X Muay Thai under the tutelage of head coach Marc Montoya.
“When you move to a bigger gym, you’ve got to prove yourself and show you’re a good fit,” Fremd said. “I was getting to the point that they were going to start booking me for a fight, and I had a bucket-handle tear in my meniscus. That put me on the sidelines for a couple months.
“Even before I was medically cleared, I was back in the gym training and getting ready. Then, the day before I signed a contract — the day before or after Christmas — I was helping one of my teammates get ready for one of his UFC fights. Toward the end of the round, I shot in a lazy shot, and he wasn’t wearing knee pads. I took a knee from hell, and I broke my orbital. So, I had to go get that fixed. Once I got that taken care of, it was the middle of March, and that’s when COVID hit. I just stuck through that and kept trying to get in the gym as much as possible. One thing led to another, and I was finally able to fight.”
On August 28, Fremd finally returned to the cage. He faced Lamar Gosey at LFA 89. After only 86 seconds, he scored a knockout win to extend his winning streak to three, following right in line with his good friend Browne.
“It happened so quick,” said Fremd. “One thing I do remember is the way I was handling myself leading up to it — my breathing, trying to take every moment in, trying to slow it down as much as possible. I definitely have a ton more to show everyone. I didn’t really get to show anything that last fight. Since I moved out here to Denver, I’ve changed completely in the style of fighter I am.”
In September, Fremd was offered another shot with the LFA. It comes on Friday, when he meets the 7-3 Antonio Jones on the main card of LFA 93, which is set to air live on UFC Fight Pass. Jones, who has a fairly well-rounded game, is currently on a two-fight skid, but both of his setbacks came in pretty tough challenges.
“It’s a good match-up,” Fremd said. “He’s a tough dude, and he has experience in Bellator and [Dana White’s] Contender Series. He fought Edmen Shahbazyan in the Contender Series, and he fought Will Fleury in Bellator.
“I think my strengths are going to play a huge part in this. I think if I put some things together, I can finish him faster than Shahbazyan did, or I can take him into deep waters and drown him.”
Fremd is young. He’s just getting started in the sport. However, back-to-back wins in the LFA could lead to bigger things. His eyes are definitely set on making big waves in the next 12 months.
“I want to finish 2020 [with a record for the year of] 3-0,” Fremd said. “I’m possibly stretching it, but 3-0 definitely. I want to get in there, come out healthy, and I want to get booked right away. I do believe I could be in the UFC by the end of this year, or by next year, given the opportunity. I’ve just leveled up so much since moving out here — not only physically, but mentally. Being able to go with guys like Chris Camozzi, Dustin Jacoby, Ian Heinisch and all that, I feel like I’m right on the brink.”
Fremd has come a long way in a short period of time. Now, the young fighter has a great opportunity as he faces Jones. He has trained all over the country, including with some tough training partners. However, he has found a new home in Colorado. On Friday night, he will come into the cage prepared to put on a show for the fans tuning into LFA 93.
“I am just going to be exciting the whole time,” said Fremd. “I have a non-stop pace, and I am brutal. I believe myself to be one of the most brutal people in this sport. I just want to bring pain, I want to bring hurt, and I want to make someone bleed.”