5 Surprising Facts About Steve Erceg

Steve Erceg is a bit of a unicorn in the Ultimate Fighting Championship. He’s on the fast track to a title shot, which is pretty rare.

This Saturday, he’s heading into enemy territory. He’ll face Alexandre Pantoja for the flyweight championship at UFC 301 in Rio de Janeiro. Despite being relatively new to the UFC, “Astro Boy” has shown he’s got what it takes to dominate his opponents. But, he’s never been in championship rounds before. Will this be a hurdle against Pantoja? We’re about to find out. Yet, Erceg isn’t planning to slow down. He’s aiming to extend his 11-fight winning streak and snag that title.

Now, let’s dive into some lesser-known facts about Erceg, the 28-year-old Aussie making waves.

1. His inspiration? A crossover star. Not your typical fighter’s tale, Erceg was a pro wrestling fan. It was Brock Lesnar’s move from WWE to UFC that caught his eye, especially Lesnar’s bout against Frank Mir at UFC 81. “Seeing a bigger guy get tapped by a smaller guy intrigued me,” Erceg shared. That’s when he knew he had to dive into MMA.

2. He’s got a bunch of heroes. For Erceg, fighters like Jose Aldo and Thiago Alves, known for their leg kicks, were big inspirations. He’s also looked up to legends like Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Muhammad Ali. But, Roy Jones Jr. holds a special place as his top combat sports athlete.

3. Learning from the best. Erceg isn’t shy about admiring his peers. Alexander Volkanovski, in particular, stands out to him. “I don’t like being a fanboy,” he admits, “but seeing Volkanovski’s performance and demeanor really inspired me.”

4. “Astro Boy” wasn’t his idea. The nickname, suggested by his coach’s ex-girlfriend, stuck after they toyed with “Wonderboy,” inspired by Stephen Thompson. “You kind of look like him,” she said. And that was that.

5. There’s more to him than fighting. Before turning pro, Erceg was a martial arts instructor. He’s a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and favors the guillotine choke as his go-to move.

Erceg’s journey is a testament to the unpredictable paths life can take us on, especially in the world of MMA. From a wrestling fan to a title contender, his story is one to watch. And who knows? Maybe he’ll add a UFC championship to his already impressive resume this weekend.

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