Being one of the biggest names to come out of season 24 of The Ultimate Fighter, UFC flyweight fighter Eric Shelton (11-4) didn’t expect to be fighting to keep his job in just his third fight for the organization. But losing his first two fights by split decisions, that was exactly his reality going into his fight last November against Jenel Lausa. “I felt like my job was on the line,” said Shelton. “It was like, I gotta get that W.”
And win he did via judges decision except this time it was unanimously in his favor and will now face submission specialist, Alex Perez (19-4) in the early prelims portion of this Saturday night’s UFC Fight Night: Emmett vs Stephens in Orlando, FL. “It was long time coming”, explained Shelton. “I had to go back to my roots man. I don’t know why I abandoned my take downs and ground game for so long. I had to get back to it.”
Making the move from the Quad Cities to Texas last year to train under famed MMA fighter and like Shelton, a former TUF alumni, Pete Spratt, Showtime admits to missing the QC at times but finally feels like he is finding his own way with Spratt and with the UFC. “He’s a great coach and we click,” said Shelton. “His knowledge of striking has helped me out tremendously. We just vibe.”
And he hasn’t forgotten about the Quad Cities either. “I miss Caged Aggression for sure and being so comfortable,” said Shelton. But I’m starting to feel that way now with the UFC. I’m talking to everybody and getting to know everyone and that last win helped me with that for sure.”
For his fight on Saturday, Shelton knows very little on his opponent Alex Perez and for him that is actually part of his game plan. “He’s a pretty average fighter, nothing I haven’t seen before,” said Shelton. “The game plan is to go in there and impose my will on him. I don’t want to rely too much on what he does. I want to focus on what I want to do. I really want to get a finish this fight.”
As every mixed martial artist will tell you, the fight game is unforgiving. Shelton can attest to that and tells everyone if you want it bad enough you will push yourself even more in those dark times. “There is going to be ups and downs in this game,” explains Shelton. “Anyone that feels like they aren’t worthy because they get a loss or even two in a row like I did, you just have to stay confident and keep pushing.”
Anyone from the Midwest that has seen Shelton fight pre-UFC knows why his nickname is Showtime. This Saturday night from Orlando, FL, he is now ready to show the world why. “I just want to come in and show people why I’m Showtime because I know back home I was able to prove why I was Showtime,” said Shelton. “I haven’t been able to do that in the UFC. So for this fight I want to show up and show out. I want everyone to remember my name after this weekend.”
Eric “Showtime” Shelton will face Alex Perez, Saturday, February 24th at UFC Fight Night: Emmett vs Stephens on the Fight Pass Early Prelims portion of the fight card at 4:15pm ET/1:15pm PT.
Photo credit: Getty Images/Zuffa, LLC.