Julian Erosa looks at experience not by the amount of time you’ve been fighting, but how many fights you’ve been in. For him, that number will reach 36 on Saturday when he faces Charles Jourdain.
“You have to make those walks,” Erosa said in an interview ahead of his bout this weekend at UFC Fight Night: Brunson vs Till. “You have to cut the weight. You have to have that pressure of having your friends and family watching you. You have to be able to perform under those lights. I think the experience of going in and out of the cage a bunch of times definitely softens the blow and eases the anxiety on the way out next time.”
Erosa’s journey in the UFC has been a rollercoaster ride since making his debut in 2016. From The Ultimate Fighter to being cut to Dana White’s Contender Series and rejoining the UFC to being cut again, the 32-year-old has a different outlook on what it means to step into the Octagon.
“These ups and downs really change your perspective,” Erosa said. “You understand that it can be gone just as quick as it can come. You’re only as good as your last fight. Every time I’m in the UFC Octagon, I want to make it memorable because I don’t know if it’s going to be my last time or not.”
Last time Erosa fought, things didn’t go as planned, as he suffered a knockout at 1:37 of the first round in his bout against SeungWoo Choi. The featherweight admitted that he wasn’t focusing on certain things during his camp that he should’ve, but the loss made him even hungrier.
“Winning fights, everything is all fun and dandy and it’s really hard to learn things from winning fights, so losing a fight like that and in that manner made me take a step back and figure out what I was doing wrong,” Erosa said.
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Going back to the drawing board made Erosa realize that his sparring sessions weren’t benefiting him and weren’t allowing him to reach his full potential.
“I was sparring with five separate dudes, for five separate rounds and if I’m sparring with one guy and my coach tells me that I need to adjust this and this, the next guy that I’m sparring isn’t the same guy,” Erosa said. “I’ve made my training and my sparring sessions more intimate with my coaches and specific with one person so that I can adjust during the sparring rounds versus kind of making it a free for all.”
The Washington native was trying to get a fight booked prior to the year ending when his manager asked if he would be willing to step in this weekend. The journey to securing the fight had its share of ups and downs.
“I could make the weight, but I wanted to make it comfortably, so I said no to the fight originally, but the next day I asked if they would do a catchweight because I could make that,” Erosa said. “Two weeks went by, and I didn’t hear anything, so I figured they went with someone else. I kept checking UFCNews alerts, still didn’t get a fight, so I was like ‘maybe it’s still in the air’ and sure enough my manager called me and said they’re willing to take the fight at 150 and I stepped in.”
He’ll face Canada’s Jourdain, who is coming off a TKO victory over Marcelo Rojo in March.
“He’s definitely a slick kickboxer,” Erosa said. “He seems like he has decent wrestling defense. The ground game has been a little bit of a hole for him, and I’m willing to exploit that hole. People don’t really see a lot of my grappling because I’m willing to stand and trade with the best.”
This weekend’s bout is a chance for “Juicy J” to show that he’s dominant on the ground and standing up. With 11 wins by knockout and 11 by submission, he is ready wherever the fight goes. Erosa knows the approach to take to get back in the win column.
“I have to make this an MMA fight,” Erosa said. “I can’t kickbox with a kickboxer. I can, but it can’t be the bulk of the fight. I must make sure that I make it into a grappling, wrestling exchange and be able to get him tired. I’ve seen him fade a little bit and one thing I’m known for is my cardio. Even though I took this fight short notice, my cardio is never short notice. I have to make it a race with him and just make it a dirty MMA fight.”
Don't miss Julian Erosa this Saturday at UFC Fight Night: Brunson vs Till. Please note the special broadcast time: Prelims begin 1:30pm ET/10:30am PT and the Main Card kicks off at 4pm ET/1pm PT on ESPN+.