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Eric Shelton knew he was fighting for job at UFC Fight Night 121, beyond relieved to keep it

SYDNEY – It took him three tries, but Eric Shelton got his first UFC victory with a unanimous decision over Jenel Lausa at UFC Fight Night 121 in Sydney, Australia. And if you don’t think he went into that fight feeling like his roster spot was on the line, guess again.

“That was exactly what I was thinking,” Shelton told MMAjunkie. “I knew I had to get out there and be dominant, whether it was on the ground or on my feet. And I felt when I got it to the ground that I could finish it there, and if not, be dominant.”

After the year he had, Shelton (11-4 MMA, 1-2 UFC) had every reason to believe it would take a dominant effort to win over the judges. In both his UFC debut in January, as well as his second fight at UFC 214 in July, Shelton put forth a strong effort and came up short with two consecutive split-decision losses.

And since the UFC doesn’t typically retain fighters who lose three straight to start their octagon careers, the pressure was on in this fight. So when Shelton heard his name called after three hard rounds against Lausa (7-4 MMA, 1-2 UFC), the relief was overwhelming.

“You have no idea,” Shelton said. “It feels like Heaven has come down on me, like, ‘Here you go. Here’s your gift for working hard and staying the course.'”

But with one win in three tries throughout 2017, the flyweight isn’t looking for a long layoff before he attempts to capitalize on his newfound momentum.

“I’m back in there as soon as they got me,” Shelton said. “I know I’ve got to take two months rest or whatever, but I’ve got mouths to feed and I’ve got a family that supports me, so there’s no resting for me. I’m coming and I’m coming strong.”

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 121, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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