Alex Perez expects to fight the entire division before all is said and done.
Maybe not literally, but Perez is keeping his options open.
He continues to make his way through the roster by fighting No. 4 ranked Jussier Formiga at UFC 250 on June 6. Currently ranked No. 9 by the UFC, Perez was originally slated to fight No. 7 Kai Kara-France on May 16, but the bout fell through due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Although Formiga will stand across from Perez on June 6, the 28-year-old anticipates a fight with Kara-France in the future. Fighting a long-time veteran like Formiga is a clear opportunity, but ranks hold little importance to Perez.
“Obviously it’s better, but at the same time too, I kind of just look at it like they’re just numbers,” Perez said. “Eventually, I am going to have to fight everybody in the division, so whether I fight Kai now or later, it’s not going to matter. We’re eventually going to meet up.”
Formiga is an obvious step up in competition for Perez as of late. He has remained near the top of the flyweight division his entire career. Formiga dropped his last two bouts to Joseph Benavidez and Brandon Moreno, but both fighters are currently pegged at No. 2 and No. 3 respectively.
Formiga, a 16-time octagon veteran even holds twice the amount of UFC bouts as Perez. Although, if Perez’s 5-1 record in the UFC is any indication, he can hang with top fighters in the division
“I just see it like another fight. Don’t make it bigger than what it is. Not really too much to overthink,” Perez said. “The numbers right next to the names do not mean anything. It’s someone else’s opinion and to me other people’s opinion, unless you’re in my inner circle, it really doesn’t matter.”
“You just don’t know”
The title is currently vacant, but Deiveson Figueiredo and Joseph Benavidez are running it back on July 18. Figueiredo missed weight before his title bout with Benavidez at UFC on ESPN+ 27 on Feb. 29.
Ineligible to win the strap, Figueiredo finished Benavidez by second-round TKO.
The immediate rematch leaves the rest of the division campaigning for the winner
Perez’s only octagon defeat came to Benavidez via first-round TKO at “The Ultimate Fighter” 28 Finale in November 2018. Since then, the California native rattled off two-straight victories against Mark De La Rosa and Jordan Espinosa.
Alex Perez is not wasting his time with worrying about when or if a title shot may come his way. Instead, the American is making his goals quite simple.
“You got guys like Demian Maia winning an X amount of fights and never got a title shot until he got a short-notice fight, so you can never say one or two fights away, you just don’t know,” Perez said. “For me, I just keep doing my job, I just keep winning, put on great fights, put on exciting fights and then eventually I will get that title shot.”
HE'S OUT! 🤯@AlexPerezMMA with an absolute masterclass finish!
— UFC (@ufc) January 26, 2020
Fight of the Night
According to Alex Perez, the UFC said the event will take place at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada. The promotion is still waiting for the Nevada Athletic Commission’s approval on the resumption of combat sports in the state.
As cliche as it sounds, Perez is pretty convincing when saying Formiga is just another fight for him. Regardless, Formiga is ahead of Perez in the rankings.
Although Perez pays no attention to the numbers, the UFC does. Just look at the war room located inside the promotion’s offices.
Unconcerned with where he stands in the division, Perez has high expectations for the matchup itself.
“I think his style and my style, obviously we are both good on the ground and we’re both good on our feet,” Perez said. “I mean Formiga has been around for a long time, but I honestly feel this could be ‘Fight of the Night.’”