Erick Gonzalez arrives in the octagon this weekend at UFC Vegas 40, the latest stop in a seven-year and counting journey through mixed martial arts.
“It’s been a seven year road, and I feel like I’m on top of the world, man. I feel like I just got signed on, because I did just get signed on, to the biggest promotion in the world,” Gonzalez (14-5) told Cageside Press in an exclusive interview ahead of this weekend’s event. “I’m feeling super grateful, I’m feeling super blessed. It’s been a long time coming, and it’s been nothing but hard work. Everything was earned, nothing was given to me.”
Gonzalez made a name for himself under the Combate Americas banner, and will ride a four-fight win streak into his fight this weekend. On the flip side, his promotional debut with the Ultimate Fighting Championship comes on short notice. Ten days’ notice, eight day camp. That’s all the time “Ghost Pepper” got to prepare to face the UFC’s Iron Man, Jim Miller.
Gonzalez recalled getting the call from his manager, telling him the UFC was “knocking on our door.” The news was, it was against a veteran, and someone who was possibly going to retire after the fight. “I automatically assumed it was Donald Cerrone, just because I’d been calling him out, but it ended up being Jim Miller. I call one veteran out, and I get a different one. To me, it’s nothing but gain for me. I’m gaining everything from this, and losing nothing out of this. To have a ten day camp, or a ten day short-notice fight, was something I expected. I wasn’t surprised when I got the call, but I was super ecstatic.”
While the fight was presented to Gonzalez as a possible retirement bout for Miller, that’s not entirely what he’s expecting this weekend. “I’m just taking it as another fight. I’m assuming he’s going to keep fighting afterward, especially if he comes off a loss,” Gonzalez told us.
“And if I win this weekend, whatever manner I win in, I think he probably will take another fight. Nobody likes to go off on a loss, especially when you’re retiring.”
“But,” Gonzalez added, “if he does retire after that, I’ll be f*cking honored, man, just to step in the ring with someone like him.”
Watch our full interview with UFC Vegas 40’s Erick Gonzalez above! Gonzalez takes on Jim Miller on the main card of the Fight Night event this Saturday, October 16, 2021. For more with “Ghost Pepper,” his media day appearance is below.