Erik Perez

Photo credit to Stephen R. Sylvanier- USA Today

Erik Perez on pro wrestling ties w/Josh Hill: “Maybe after this fight, we can wrestle”

Erik Perez takes on Josh Hill at Bellator 244 on Friday, August 21st. The bantamweight bout goes down at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut. Perez’s sophomore effort with Bellator is a great deal different than his promotional debut. After all, competing in a global pandemic can throw some unexpected wrenches not things. “It’s very quiet. Not too many people. I have my own traveling, my own workout room, my own sauna. It’s very cool. I feel very safe.”

Many regard Josh Hill as Canada’s best bantamweight and his opponent Friday night is someone who respects him as well. “He’s a complete fighter. He can wrestle, he can strike. Has a long time practiced MMA. For a long time competed in MMA. I’m always ready for war and it’s going to be an awesome fight. I see a lot of openings on Josh Hill. I practiced to break little by little but it’s going to be a good fight. I’m ready to make it a war there.”

Perez’s awareness of Hill’s resume does nothing to obfuscate the confidence he has in his own abilities though. “I have very good hands and I have very good wrestling. For this camp I was sparring a lot of times with Dominick Cruz. So my reflexes are really good.” Additional COVID-19 measures during fight week also extend to fight camp and making adjustments at Alliance MMA in the preparation. “Right now there’s not too many people in the gym. Just the people that have a fight. It’s a smaller team for my workouts.”

Mexican native Erik Perez lived in America for a month through this camp. He was in San Diego putting in work and it’s a place he is certainly familiarized with. Perez has spent time training with Geo Martinez and Richie Boogieman Martinez at Tenth Planet San Diego over the years en route to a brown belt.

Bellator 244

Goyito also has a history training at ALTO Boxing Club. An exciting realization with the backdrop of Bellator and Showtime Boxing cross-promotions on the agenda. Perez would love to be a part of that and represent Bellator under Queensberry Rules. “Yeah why not? I’m ready for every fight. MMA fight, boxing fight, kickboxing fight. I’m a fighter. It’s my job but I also love it. I was sparring with a lot of pro boxers. Guys over there in Tijuana.”

As dedicated as he is to MMA, Perez has a lot of pro wrestling love. He famously has donned the Luchadore mask for past fights but also actually wrestled a bit ago. “I had one pro wrestling match with Alberto Del Rio, Dos Caras, Dos Caras Jr. It was very fun. I love to wrestle. When I was a kid, I was always thinking to do that. But now I know I’m a fighter. The wrestling thing, I love to see it. It’s like a Mexico thing.”

His Bellator 244 opponent Josh Hill also has connections to the pro wrestling game via his family lineage. Hill’s great-uncle is Gentleman Jerry Valiant which is where Josh Hill gets his MMA nickname from. This was a revelatory anecdote for Perez which he seemed enthusiastic to learn about. “I don’t know that. Maybe after this fight, we can wrestle.”

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