Finally getting his hand raised inside the octagon again at UFC on ESPN 12 meant “everything to me,” Julian Erosa told reporters following his win Saturday.
Erosa is now on his third stint with the UFC. His first came following The Ultimate Fighter 22, and saw him go 1-1 before being cut in 2016. He returned after an appearance on Dana White’s Contender Series in 2018, as a replacement rather than a contract winner, only to lose three straight and be cut again.
Taking a single fight on the regional scene, Erosa was welcomed back in a 150lb catchweight bout against Sean Woodson over the weekend. One for which he had precious little time to prepare.
“Five days,” he told media outlets including Cageside Press. Though he suggested that thanks to his team’s mindset, it wasn’t the burden one might expect. “Every day is part of a fight camp really. We train hard as it is, so we’re always pretty ready. It’s more like, worried about weight.”
And for good reason. Even at a catchweight, five days isn’t much time to shed what turned out to be twenty pounds. “Monday I was 170 pounds when I woke up and you know, I was lucky enough that we did it at 150,” Erosa observed. “And no problem, I made it. You know, cut was average so wasn’t too bad of a curve and was able to just to come out and perform.”
After being handed a pink slip twice, Erosa would go on to tell Cageside Press that there were times he doubted whether he’d ever be back.
“You start doubting yourself and start thinking, ‘what am I doing wrong?’ And obviously, if you’re in the UFC, you have to win. You can’t just go out and do good and hope that you’ll keep getting shots, because people who win still even get cut.”
“Juicy J” figured that if he kept working hard, someone would pick him back up, even if it was another organization and not the UFC. “I actually thought I would never fight in the octagon again after my last loss, but I love doing this stuff and so I wasn’t gonna stop doing it,” he admitted.
Persistence paid off in the end. Not only did Erosa get his hand raised, but he earned a $50,000 Performance of the Night bonus for his D’Arce choke submission of Woodson.
Watch the full UFC on ESPN 12 post-fight scrum with Julian Erosa above.