Following his UFC release in 2016, lightweight Julian Erosa has been hard at work trying to return to the company by staying as active as possible and letting no opportunity pass him by.
After winning six of eight bouts, Erosa was given the chance to earn his return to the UFC as part of Dana White’s Contender Series in June against Jamall Emmers. While he had hoped to get into the company outright, Erosa was willing to do whatever it took to ensure his return.
“I thought if I moved down here (to Las Vegas) and got a good couple wins and got the right type of management, I might be able to get a short notice fight in the UFC,” Erosa told MMAWeekly.com. “They offered a Contender Series spot, and I said I’d jump through the hoop and if this is what I have to do to get there, this is what I have to do.”
Erosa was able to get a second round finish of Emmers and get his opportunity to return to the UFC. The win was Erosa’s third in a row, which he credits to his relocation to Las Vegas as the reason for his success.
“Back where I’m from in Yakama, Washington, I only had one coach and only had a handful of training partners, so being here in Vegas I’ve got three or four coaches that train me on a regular basis and give me different outlooks on my style, and I have tens up on tens of people to work with for training,” Erosa said.
“I have UFC caliber guys I train with on a regular basis in my weight class. The coaching is really good, but having the bodies I have here in Vegas has really been what’s helped me out and helped me correct things I did wrong and fix holes in my game.”
In Denver, Colorado, this Saturday night, Erosa (22-5) will look to have a successful promotional return when he takes on Devonte Smith (8-1) in a preliminary card 155-pound bout at UFC Fight Night 139.
“(Smith is) an explosive guy with some knockout power, and probably hits harder than a lot of guys, but for me I’m one of the most unorthodox type of fighters,” Erosa said. “I’m really hard to hit, especially when I’m in the zone and have my movement down 100 percent.
“What’s going to win this fight for me is to be funky right away and be weird right away and be unorthodox right away and get him frustrated. As the fight goes on get him tired and get him into the later rounds.”
Now that he’s back in the UFC, Erosa wants to be a bit more deliberate in his movement within the promotion.
“You’ve got to take the right fights to make the road to get to the top available to you,” said Erosa. “I want to string together wins over good guys.
“After this fight I’d like to fight in the featherweight division. I have my eye on a few guys who would be good fights to win, get a couple of wins together in that weight class and then fight somebody who has a bigger name that can project me further up in the rankings, then string together a couple more wins and hopefully fight for a title.”