Steve Erceg Hopes To Open Some Eyes

“People almost let him hold the center and cover-up while he’s resting,” Erceg said. “Many people seem to really want to wrestle him back because they’re worried about his jiu jitsu. The people that have been the most successful, I think, are the people who have used their whole game, not just trying to just stay away and strike. I’m looking to do the same thing. I’m going to mix up MMA and not let him dictate where the fight goes and what the pace of the fight looks like.”

That’s easier said than done, of course, especially considering 18 of Pantoja’s 27 professional wins have come before the final horn. “Cannibal” is as aggressive and game a champion as any on the roster, and he’ll have even more energy in his corner fighting in Brazil for the first time under the UFC banner. 

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It’s a hard task, but then again, that’s how title challenges usually work. The spotlight, the tension and the stakes are all unfamiliar for Erceg, who is welcoming it all with open arms. He’s even leaning into the jokes and memes comparing him with Steve Carrell’s character Michael Scott from The Office. 

“I’ve seen a lot of good ones,” he said. “I guess I can kind of see some of the similarities in the way we look and that sort of thing, and obviously I love The Office. I think (Carrell) is very funny, so if I can piggyback off that humor and put into some of my stock, I think that’d be hilarious.”

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