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Steve Erceg of Australia poses for a portrait after his victory during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on March 02, 2024 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC)
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Get To Know The Challenger | Steve Erceg

Before Steve Erceg Steps Up To Face Alexandre Pantoja At UFC 301, Get To Know The 27-Year-Old Australian Contender

Australian flyweight Steve Erceg had a rapid ascent up the rankings going from UFC debut to UFC title fight in the span of a year. The Perth-born fighter hopes to join the likes of Alexander Volkanovski and become another UFC champion from Australia when he takes on Alexandre Pantoja at UFC 301.

Before he steps up to the biggest stage of his life, get to know Erceg, from his favorite fighters to his mixed martial arts origin story:

Age: 28 (birthday: July 27, 1995)

Birthplace: Perth, Western Australia

Height: 5’8”

Reach: 38”

Record: 12-1(2 knockouts, 6 submissions)

teve Erceg of Australia punches Matt Schnell in a flyweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on March 02, 2024 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)
teve Erceg of Australia punches Matt Schnell in a flyweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on March 02, 2024 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

How Did Steve Erceg Get Interested In MMA?

“I was a WWE fan when I was younger. Mostly Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock, that sort of thing. Rey Mysterio was one of my favorites. Brock Lesnar was coming over to the UFC, and there was a big hoopla about him having the biggest hands in the UFC. They made him custom this, custom that, he’s an absolute animal, monster. And he was fighting this guy called Frank Mir, and although they were both heavyweights, Frank Mir looked like a much smaller gentleman, and I just didn’t think he had a chance to beat Brock. When the fight started, Brock was giving him a bit of a whooping, and then out of nowhere, Frank grabbed his foot, twisted on his ankle, and Brock has to give up. Seeing a bigger guy get tapped by a smaller guy intrigued me, as a naturally smaller person, into learning what the hell happened. From then, I knew I at least wanted to learn what was going on in there, and I asked my dad to find a gym as quickly as he could.”

Who Is Steve Erceg’s Favorite Fighter?

“Georges St-Pierre was definitely up there. José Aldo was one of my favorite fighters. My coach was a big leg kicker, so any time there was someone — like Thiago Alves — that was a big leg kicker, I was just drawn to them. José Aldo was a big one. There were also people that weren’t in the UFC like Roy Jones Jr., Floyd Mayweather, Muhammad Ali, Ernesto Hoost, Ramon Dekkers, a whole bunch of people I looked at and tried to emulate my style after. I think as far as pure combat, Roy Jones Jr. is my favorite fighter, full-stop.”

What Fighters Inspire Steve Erceg The Most?

“Definitely, now, Alexander Volkanovski. I don’t like to say it because I don’t like being a fanboy in front of people, but when I went to Perth, just to see the way he carried himself. He fought Islam Makhachev, who was just revered as one of the toughest lightweights in the world, and he went up, took on the challenge and put on the performance he put up, and we had the crowd there, and I just like the way he carries himself, the way he fights. He’s definitely a big inspiration.”

Why Is Steve Erceg’s Nickname “Astroboy?”

“It’s not even a good story. We were brainstorming stuff, and I brought up ‘Wonderboy’ because Stephen Thompson has the same name, so I was like, ‘Oh, “Wonderboy.” What about that?’ My coach’s ex-girlfriend said, ‘Oh, what about “Astroyboy?” You kind of look like him.’ That’s literally it. It sort of stuck, and people liked it, so I took it. I don’t even think I wrote it down on my fighter card. I think one of my old corners decided to put it down. It stuck since.”

Order UFC 301: Pantoja vs Hill

Ranks in any martial arts styles: Black belt in Jiu Jitsu. 
Favorite grappling technique: Guillotine 
Favorite Striking technique: Leg kick 

UFC 301: Pantoja vs Erceg took place live from Farmasi Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on May 4, 2024. See the Final Prelim and Main Card Results, Official Scorecards and Who Won Bonuses - and relive the action on UFC Fight Pass!