It was the fight game at its finest, when most of the time it can be so unforgiving. No one knows this better than Erosa, a 23-8 pro who can obviously fight, but who just didn’t get it done on the big stage until last Saturday night.

“This fight game can be so brutal,” Erosa said. “It’s been such a long and up and down road. And if you base everything off just how you do in the UFC, it can be a depressing sport to be in. But it’s never made me waver. I’ve always been headstrong about it and I knew that if I just kept working that somehow, some way, some day, I was gonna be acknowledged for all the hard work that I put in. All my training partners, all my coaches, my friends and family, they know the work that I put into this, but it’s all the other people that don’t get to see that other stuff. I’ve only wanted to have the opportunity to be able to showcase myself in the same kind of light that all my friends and family get to see, and all my training partners and coaches as well. This past Saturday I felt like I was able to do that, and I’m just so satisfied with how it turned out for myself.”

Towards the end of the first round against Woodson, it was clear that this was a different Julian Erosa at the APEX in Las Vegas. Woodson got off to a fast start, using his range and boxing ability beautifully as he tagged Erosa and marked his face up. But with each shot, Erosa had a look on his face that said, “You can’t hurt me and I will outlast you.” He was right, and on this night, the veteran was not going to be denied.

“There’s a little bit of a switch in my head and that happens sometimes, especially when I’m sparring,” he said. “Usually when we spar at Xtreme (Couture), we go about five or six rounds. Usually around the middle of the third round, I’ll start catching this switch where I feel like everybody’s starting to fade. I don’t like to fade and I never fade; I’ve always been really proud of my cardio and my conditioning and so I always try to be a pressure fighter and have the switch where I go from having fun to doing everything I can to not let this guy do what he wants. Sometimes in fights it’s taken me too long to do that and it’s too little too late or I didn’t do it and I got knocked out because I was being too relaxed in the beginning of the fight.”

Not on this night. In fact, Erosa was hitting on all cylinders mentally and physically while hitting pads in the locker room.