UFC Vegas 66’s Julian Erosa Optimistic Through Hard Times

Steven Peterson and Julian erosa, UFC Vegas 47
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - FEBRUARY 05: Julian Erosa battles Steven Peterson in their featherweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on February 05, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

Julian Erosa may be 5-1 in his most recent UFC stint, but it wasn’t always so easy for ‘Juicy J’. The veteran featherweight saw his first two runs in the UFC end with a 1-4 record, which also included an unsuccessful run on the Ultimate Fighter and a Contender Series fight that didn’t yield an immediate contract.

Through all of those rough times, he kept on ticking. Maybe he knew that good times like the present were on the horizon, maybe it was just blind faith. Whatever it was, Erosa never lost that positivity.

“It’s wild how optimistic I was back then in all relativity to my career,” Erosa said. “I had lost three times in a row, I fought one time outside of the UFC after that and got a win over AJ Bryant, but I was still out of the UFC and COVID had just hit.”

That’s not to say that he even had a road map for what was next. And, of course, some of the dark thoughts that released fighters have crept in. However, he put the work in and kept an open mind.

“I really had no idea what I was going to do with my career. Am I going to keep fighting? You start thinking about these things – I can’t be fighting on these regional shows for pennies on the dollar,” he said. “At the time I just had to stay optimistic. Just saying, ‘maybe I’ll go to Bellator’ or ‘maybe I’ll go to ONE FC or PFL or something will pop up for me’. I just have to stay and train and work my ass off.”

Something did. When Kyle Nelson fell out of his fight with Sean Woodson at UFC Vegas 4, the UFC knew who to call. Not only did he snag the win in that fight, Erosa also used that to build future success.

“I just have to put the work in and it’ll happen,” Erosa shared. “I was able to get that short notice fight and parlay off of that.”

Now only two and a half years later, he’s not only on this amazing run, but finds himself in a big situation. He’s featured on the main card of UFC Vegas 66 against a big name in Alex Caceres. Not only that, he’s listed across the board as a betting favorite, which is a thought that seemed out of the realm of possibility back then.

“It’s crazy to see [myself] as a betting favorite,” he said. “I’ve been an underdog quite a bit.”

That fight with Alex Caceres takes place on the main card of Fight Night: Cannonier vs Strickland on ESPN+.

You can hear the entire audio of this interview at 2:05.