UFC newcomer, Erick ‘The Ghost Pepper’ Gonzalez has admitted he is “honored” to share the Octagon with lightweight division mainstay, veteran contender, Jim Miller for his UFC bow this weekend at UFC Vegas 40. But all that admiration for the veteran won’t stop Gonzalez from predicting a late stoppage win over the New Jersey grappler.
Gonzalez, who boasts a 14-5 professional record ahead of his first outing under the Dana White-led UFC banner, is currently in the midst of a two-fight winning spree, securing the victory in his first two fights back since an almost two-year hiatus.
The 29-year-old last competed against Samuel Alvarez at LXF 5 back in August, lodging his fifth career win via decision.
Gonzalez, a native of Redondo Beach, California was landed on as an opponent for Miller, after the veteran saw his UFC Vegas 37 bout with Nikolas Motta halted and shelved after he tested positive for COVID-19.
Taking the fight with Miller on just 10-days’ notice, Gonzalez informed Current MMA reporter, Bradley Hall — that he plans on testing the veteran’s cardio over the course of three rounds, prior to a late stoppage success.
“I see it going the distance and me finishing him (Jim Miller) in the third round,” Gonzalez said. “I’m a grinder and I will push his cardio to the max without a doubt.”
Taking the bout on such short-notice, Gonzalez admitted that he’s quite honored to share the Octagon with someone of Miller’s ilk for his first walk under the promotion’s scrutiny.
“It’s an honor to fight a legend like Jim Miller,” Gonzalez said. “He has an amazing career and has some of the best names in his past fights. I truly believe this is a blessing because I have so much to gain and nothing to lose. This is my debut and he is a veteran.”
In terms of potential dream matchups, Gonzalez has claimed that he would enjoy the prospect of possibly sharing the Octagon with a past-foe of Miller, incoming UFC 269 headliner, former interim champion, Dustin Poirier.
“Man, I would love to fight Dustin Poirier someday,” Gonzalez said. “He is a savage. I think that would be a f*cking war.”
To go with his aforenoted judging win over Alvarez, Gonzalez has also handed defeats to the likes of Oziel Rodriguez, Milko Tucto, Yoel Jimenez, Alejandro Martinez, Danny Ramirez, and Marco Antonio Elpidio.
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