Steve Erceg hopes to open eyes

Steve Erceg hopes to open eyes

“People almost let him hold the center and cover while he rests,” Erceg said. “A lot of people seem to really want to fight him because they’re worried about his jiu jitsu. The people who have had the most success, I think, are the ones who used their whole game, not just tried to stay away and hit. I’m trying to do the same thing. I’m going to mix it up with MMA and not let it dictate where the fight is going to be and what the pace of the fight looks like.

That’s easier said than done, of course, especially considering that 18 of Pantoja’s 27 professional victories came before the final whistle. “Cannibal” is as aggressive and athletic a champion as anyone 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 difficult task, but then again, that’s how title challenges usually work. The spotlight, the tension and the stakes are unfamiliar to Erceg, who welcomes it all with open arms. He even weighs in on jokes and memes comparing him to 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 similarities in our looks and that sort of thing, and obviously I like Office. I think (Carrell) is very funny, so if I can take that humor and add it to my stock, I think it would be hilarious.


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