Interview With Julian Erosa
What got you started in MMA?
Erosa: When I was younger, I got into a handful of fights. I was an avid skateboarder and it comes with the territory. But I almost got into trouble for fighting a few times. I enjoyed fighting, but didn’t want to get into trouble for it. I found a local gym (Yakima MMA) and I enjoyed it. It was a good outlet.
I would say within the first year, as an amateur, I was doing really good. The thing is, if I enjoy it, I put in 100 percent. I wanted to be a professional and take it as far as I could.
Many fighters have different sports backgrounds. What was your background growing up?
Erosa: I wasn’t much of a team player, I didn’t do school sports. But I was good skateboarding, it was my own thing, no structure. Fighting was a smooth transition. It’s a lot of self-pushing to do the things you need to do. There’s only so much you can do with the team, but you can make yourself responsible.
It was actually nice (not having a wrestling or boxing background). Sometimes, if you go from one discipline to the next, there are some bad habits that come along. It’s hard if you’ve been doing something a certain way for three or four years. My coach was happy when I didn’t have any of those bad habits. I was a clean slate.
How do you handle the emotions of entering the ring?
Erosa: It was unusual for me when I first started as an amateur. I was pretty young, 18 or 19. I had been in skateboarding and snowboarding events, so I was used to performing in front of people. It’s your turn and you just go.
When I turned pro (in MMA), I started getting more nervous, feeling the nerves amping up. Some fights felt like an out of body experience. You have to learn to deal with it. Every fight I’m getting better. You have to be aware, no matter how comfortable you feel, you’re going to have those nerves and anxiety.
I always tell myself, “You’re always going to be nervous, don’t let that scare you. Embrace it.” A lot of times, guys over excite themselves, then overexert with the warming up, and they wonder why they gas out so fast.
Talk about your experience on the Ultimate Fighter: 22
Erosa: The easiest way to break it down, for those who don’t fight, it’s almost like a summer camp for fighting. (The cameras) are on you almost 24-7, as long as people are up and awake. Anytime we were up, there was a camera guy there. It was something to get used to the first 5 or 6 days, but after that, it was like they weren’t even there.
What is it like having to move from Yakima MMA to Xtreme Couture MMA?
Erosa: I will always represent any gym that has helped me. Some people switch gyms and won’t acknowledge their old gyms. I was at Yakima MMA for 8 years, I will always represent Yakima MMA. But I just grew out of that gym – you have to go somewhere where you get your butt kicked. At Yakima MMA, I was the hammer. Here, I’m the nail.