Check out the interview with Julian Erosa above
Julian Erosa counted out his chances of ever fighting inside the octagon again.
It’s why he is planning to hold on to his third stint with the UFC as long as possible. On five days notice, Erosa submitted previously unbeaten Sean Woodson in the third round at UFC on ESPN 12 this past Saturday, June 27.
He collected a $50,000 “Performance of the Night” bonus and moved to 2-4 inside the octagon. At 30 years old, he is looking at his UFC career in a different light.
“I would have told you there was no chance in hell that I was going to fight in the UFC again, not because I didn’t want to, obviously I want to fight in the UFC, but I figured I was 1-4, they gave me so many opportunities,” Erosa said.
“For so long I would have said, ‘yes’ to fighting the champion on two days’ notice, but that’s not the smartest thing to do. Your fighting career is only a blink of an eye, so you really want to set yourself up for success.”
A close circle
The way Erosa is approaching his next stint inside the octagon is by following the advice of those who helped him get there. The Washington native is relying on his coaches Casey Halstead and Eddie Barraco, as well as his manager, Jason House.
House told Erosa to stay ready for a third UFC opportunity and it came. Erosa still has a “Fight anyone, anytime, anywhere,” mentality, but is putting his trust in some of the people who are closest to him.
“I need to quit stepping on my own foot and tripping myself , so I want to talk to them, sit down with them,” Erosa said. “I’m a little bit more older, more wiser I would say.”
Finding a way back
Erosa appeared on season 22 of “The Ultimate Fighter” as a 26 year old. He won three consecutive bouts before being eliminated by first-round TKO to eventual runner up, Artem Lobov.
“Juicy J” earned his first UFC contract with a split decision win against Marcin Wrzosek on the TUF 22 Finale in December 2015. He was then released after a second-round TKO defeat to Teruto Ishihara at UFC 196 in March 2016.
Fast forward eight fights later, a win on Dana White’s Contender Series launched his second stint in the UFC. He lost his next three bouts to Devonte Smith, Grant Dawson and Julia Arce, before being released by the promotion again.
Erosa fought just one fight outside of the octagon before making his most recent return He submitted A.J. Bryant in the very first round at CageSport 60 on Feb. 22.
He took his fight with Woodson on short notice, but the journey there was long.
“When I came on The Ultimate Fighter I was a young kid who had no idea about anything really, I was just wanting to fight. The second time through it was like I was desperate. I felt desperate for it and I was just taking any fight,” Erosa said. “Obviously I had to be a little desperate for this first fight. I was ready to go, so I was willing to be desperate for the opponent. Beggars can’t be choosers and I was a beggar at that time.”
Not going anywhere
A lot changed for Erosa in a week’s time. He is back where he always thought he he should be, but unsure if he would make it back.
He knows what it is like to earn a UFC contract and to lose it.
Erosa wants some rest before his next fight, eying a September return. Along with his manager and coaches, Erosa realizes how important the next fight is. He is yet to string two wins together inside the octagon.
In an attempt to mimic fighters like Leonard Garcia and Diego Sanchez, Erosa wants to be known for someone who brings the fight. He has always been like that.
But after earning at least one more chance, Julian Erosa is taking his time in the process.
“I just want to build a kind of fan base and get some fun fights, you know, I want to fight dudes that will set up fights like what I just had,” Erosa said. “It feels like something I don’t want to take for granted. I want to take advantage of all of this.”