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Thursday, May 23, 2024

Steve Erceg feels strain regardless of being gifted title shot


Steve Erceg doesn’t deny that his shot on the UFC flyweight title got here beneath uncommon circumstances.

Lower than a 12 months since signing with the UFC, Erceg already finds himself headlining a UFC pay-per-view and difficult for the undisputed belt at 125 kilos. Erceg (12-1 MMA, 3-0 UFC) takes on champion Alexandre Pantoja (27-5 MMA, 11-3 UFC) this Saturday within the high billing of UFC 301 in Rio de Janeiro – one thing few noticed coming.

“I do know I wasn’t on the high of everybody’s thoughts when it got here to a title shot,” Ergec stated Wednesday at UFC 301 media day. “However simply the best way the division was with Pantoja already beating all of the challengers, individuals are injured and the one different man up for the shot was (Muhammad) Mokaev, I used to be on the identical card as him, and I had a extra thrilling combat than him, (so) UFC determined to provide me the shot.

“I’m right here to be the most effective man on the earth, so whether or not I’m an underdog or favourite, it doesn’t matter to me. I’m entering into there to combat one other dude in a cage, and whoever is greatest goes to return out on high.”

Some say this is a perfect and pressure-free place for Erceg, as few anticipate him to win provided that he’s ranked No. 10 within the UFC’s official rankings and nonetheless new within the promotion.

Nevertheless, Erceg doesn’t purchase that. He has excessive expectations and sees himself with simply as a lot strain because the champion.

“Actually, I imagine there’s simply as a lot strain on me as there may be on Pantoja,” Erceg stated. “I do know that, yeah, technically he’s the champ, and he’s the favourite and all that, however I’ve been working for this dream my entire life, and that is the end result of all my exhausting work. To lose right here could be devastating. I’ve all of the strain on my shoulders, and I’m assured within the work I’ve executed over time. I’ve labored very exhausting for a really very long time.”

For extra on the cardboard, go to MMA Junkie’s occasion hub for UFC 301.

Remember to go to the MMA Junkie Instagram web page and YouTube channel to debate this and extra content material with followers of blended martial arts.

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