It was a year of ups and downs for lightweight Julian Erosa in 2016. Following a stint on The Ultimate Fighter in 2015, Erosa spent just one fight in the UFC before being released. Since then, he’s managed to pick up two wins against one loss and feels he’s gotten himself back on track in many respects.
“In 2016, I was dropped from the UFC, and as soon as I got dropped, I just wanted to hop back on the horse and get back in there,” Erosa told MMAWeekly.com. “Coming off of being cut from the UFC, I feel like I’ve been able to perform really well by having the attitude of not having anything to lose.”
Erosa feels his time has strengthened his mentality, and in turn he believes he’s a much better fighter than he was prior to his time in the UFC.
“I’m really able to pick my opponents apart and really adjust what I’m doing against what they’re doing,” he said. “All the way from the first bell to the last bell.
“Previously a couple years ago, I’d step into the cage and have that weird out of body experience, and that throws you off to step in there and not be comfortable. I’m way more comfortable in that setting and being able to perform under pressure.”
TRENDING > Ronda Rousey Goes to Prison for Guest Spot on ‘Blindspot’
Erosa (17-4) will look to take another step back towards the big stage when he takes on Justin Harrington (9-2) in a 155-pound championship main event of CageSport 44 in Tacoma, Wash., on Saturday.
“He’s definitely going to be bigger and stronger than I am, but that’s not what I bank on to win,” said Erosa of facing Harrington. “I’m not the most brute force strength kind of guy.
“Like in any other sport, it’s all about being able to trick somebody into doing what you want them to do, and that’s always step in the cage to do. I always try to set things up and get them thinking one thing, and then do another.”
Erosa believes his opponent’s size advantage will ultimately be a detriment to Harrington, especially as the fight wears on.
“I’ve seen (Harrington) slow down in fights, and I think I’m going to be quicker 100-percent of the time throughout the whole fight,” Erosa said. “My cardio is really strong on top of everything. I know I can last five rounds no problem.”
While a return to the UFC would be the best possible outcome for Erosa in 2017, the most important thing to him is to be able to make a career of MMA.
“Fighting on these regional shows it’s still kind of a hobby because it’s really hard to making a living it at,” he said. “If you want to make a career off it, you have to fight in the bigger organizations that are going to pay you decent money you can live off of.
“Honestly my number one goal is to make it to one of the bigger organizations and get fights where I can get money to keep this as my career. I’d love to get into the UFC, because that’s where I feel I belong, so that’s definitely a goal this year.”
Follow MMAWeekly.com on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram