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Julian Erosa considered stealing Khamzat Chimaev's shorts at UFC 279: 'The whole experience is cool'

'Juicy J' realizing his maturity in his UFC career by his increasing ability to enjoy the experience ahead of high-pressure spots.

The moments ahead of a professional cagefight are about as high-pressure of a situation as you can imagine, with athletes realizing the tense situation that lies just ahead.

Veteran fighters will often tell you the nerves never completely go away, but with experience, you can learn to find comfort in the moment.

For UFC featherweight Julian Erosa (28-9 MMA, 6-5 UFC), who fought for the 37th time as a professional when he stepped into the cage at this past weekend's UFC 279, finding himself in the same locker room as the undefeated marauder Khamzat Chimaev gave him a unique opportunity to realize he's starting to find his comfort in this difficult moments.

"I was in the back; my corner was the same corner as Chimaev," Erosa said. "He walked in like right before I went out. I was like, 'Holy sh-t, it's Chimaev. He's right here.' Like, we were joking about because all his gear was right there, I was like I should have put his shorts on and been like, 'Take them off me, dude. You want your shorts, you've got to take them off me.' 

"It's a still a little bit of, you know, you get a little star struck to see some of these guys, but I'm just more mature, so I can take it a little. I take it better now than I used to take it, but it was still just cool. The whole experience is cool. Win, lose or draw. I was just wanting to be there and enjoy being in that moment and seeing all these things, and you know, no matter how hard you you really try to fight it, you're going to get the nerves, but you've got to understand that those are good to a certain degree, and so just being present, I think that's the biggest the biggest asset as a fighter is to try to be present in the moment – and I think I did that as best I could for the fight."

To hear the full interview with Erosa, including his thoughts on his win over Hakeem Dawodu, the lessons who took from the madness surrounding UFC 279's featured fights and more, check out the video above.