CJ Vergara on insane comeback win at UFC on ESPN 43: ‘It feels like deja vu’
SAN ANTONIO – CJ Vergara beat Daniel Lacerda with a second-round TKO Saturday on the preliminary card at UFC on ESPN 43 at AT&T Center in San Antonio.
Take a look inside the fight with Vergara, who mounted an insane comeback after a 10-8 first round to get the win in the second.
Daniel Lacerda vs. CJ Vergara
Result: CJ Vergara def. Daniel Lacerda via TKO (strikes) – Round 2, 4:04
Updated records: Vergara (11-4-1 MMA, 2-2 UFC), Lacerda (11-5 MMA, 0-4 UFC)
Key stat: Despite getting beat up in the first, Vergara outstruck Lacerda 98-51 overall.
Vergara on the fight's key moment
Mar 25, 2023; San Antonio, Texas, USA; CJ Vergara (red gloves) fights Daniel Lacerda (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Meullion-USA TODAY Sports
“I need to do some self-reflection because for some reason, ever since (my Dana White’s) Contender Series fight, my first round, they’re a little bit slow. That’s not the kind of guy that I am when I do sparring and stuff in training. I get my wheels turning into third gear pretty quickly. So I need to get that together because I’m taking unnecessary damage. I’m an evasive fighter and I feel like it’s not showing quite yet. Daniel had power and usually I take that first shot and I kind of shake it off because I’ve got a good chin on me. But damn, that guy can stick. He had a hammer on him.”
Vergara on getting the win in his home city
Mar 25, 2023; San Antonio, Texas, USA; CJ Vergara (red gloves) celebrates after defeating Daniel Lacerda (not pictured) during UFC Fight Night at AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Meullion-USA TODAY Sports
“(I feel) accomplished for sure. To be a teenager here and as a young boy, I was always terrified of conflict my entire life. I was terrified of conflict, and that’s where this was all born from. I wanted to stop being so afraid. And so I started to make this narrative up in my head that I can become a UFC fighter someday, because I would watch these guys on TV and they were like demigods. To be able to live that full-circle moment and be here in the AT&T (Center) where I’ve watched the Spurs win championships and watched so many great people perform in my city, it just feels like such an accomplishment and such a presence for myself to be proud of and just kind of showcase to anybody else that might be watching this and doubting themselves that they can accomplish whatever as well.”
Vergara on what he wants next
“My dream fight in this division is Kai Kara-France. I love that dude. I love the way he fights. I love his energy. So if I could write this story myself, it’d be cool to see Kai here in San Antonio someday.
“… I’ve talked to my coaches. I’m like, ‘Hey man, if I win this fight, we’re going to need to ground me quicker,’ because sometimes I’ll freaking put on 20 pounds in between fights. So I need to have my little cake for a week or whatever and just bring it right back down and humble myself and get right back into training because there’s a lot of improvements I need to make. There’s some dogs out here in this division.”
To hear more from Vergara, check out the video of the full post-fight interview above.
For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC on ESPN 43.