Last week, at UFC Vegas 36, Paddy Pimblett stole the show with a KO in his UFC debut. By winning—in exciting fashion—the former Cage Warriors champion proved good on some of the hype that had carried him to his long awaited promotional debut.
One man who knows Pimblett better than most is Julian Erosa, who also competed at UFC Vegas 36. There Erosa took an exciting submission victory over Charles Jourdain. That was Erosa’s third win in four fights since he rejoined the UFC in 2020.
This current run is ‘Juicy J’’s third stint in the promotion. His first go around came via The Ultimate Fighter: Team McGregor vs. Team Faber in 2015. He made it to the semi-final of that show before losing to Artem Lobov. He then went 1-1 in the Octagon and was released. He got back into the UFC in 2018 with a KO win on the Contender series, but was cut again in 2019.
After his first release from the UFC Erosa booked a Cage Warriors featherweight title shot against then-champ Paddy Pimblett. The fight, at 2016’s Cage Warriors: Unplugged, went the distance. The judges in London scored the fight a unanimous decision victory for Pimblett. However, many observers think the Englishman got some overly favorable scores from his fellow countrymen.
Erosa recently caught up with MMA Fighting, where he discussed the desire to face Pimblett again, this time inside the UFC’s Octagon.
“I could see myself fighting him again,” he said. “But I’m at featherweight and I can make the weight fine. He said he didn’t really cut much weight to get to 155. He looked pretty sucked up, and I remember on an interview he said he was gonna run through the 155 and 145 divisions, and I’m like, ‘If he decides to go to 145 I’ll be waiting for him.’ If they offer me the fight fight at 155 I’ll fight him, but featherweight is where I’m at.”
Despite wanting to fight him, Erosa stressed that he has no ill will towards ‘The Baddy’. “He’s kind of a boisterous, loud, and a little obnoxious, but that’s just his style. He’s confident in who he is and I have nothing but respect for him.”
When it comes to their controversial fight in Cage Warriors, Erosa lays blame at those around Pimblett and not the fighter himself.
“The whole situation with the Cage Warriors thing, it wasn’t him. It was the promoter and the matchmaker over there is also his manager, and I didn’t know that until after the fight and, obviously, that’s a bit biased that the guy that’s setting everything up is also managing the fucking star player that I’m gonna fight. So if I don’t finish the guy, it didn’t matter if I beat the dog shit out of the guy, they were gonna give him the fight if it went to a decision. That’s not on him, that’s on the guys behind him.”
Erosa added that he and Pimblett bumped into each other a few times during this most recent fight week. He said the pair shared a “couple of small conversations” and that he’s happy that Pimblett has found success in the UFC thus far. Though, he did say Pimblett needs to improve if he wants to stick around.
“He was a little sloppy—almost got knocked out himself—came back and persevered, but there’s a lot of guys out there who aren’t gonna be as sloppy, that are gonna be a little more technical with him. But if he ever decides to move down to 145, I’m here for him.”