Interview with Alex Perez above
It’s all the same to Alex Perez.
There’s no mistaking Perez’s biggest opportunity in the sport is coming on Nov. 21, when he challenges flyweight champion Deiveson Figueiredo for the title at UFC 255. Perez is approaching this fight in similar fashion as he was going to when he was set to face Brandon Moreno on the same night.
After Cody Garbrandt pulled out of his flyweight debut due to injury, Perez stepped into to fight Figueiredo. Whether it’s three rounds or five, Moreno or Figueiredo, the 28-year-old looks forward to making the walk to the octagon.
“Obviously the word title is huge, but I’m not thinking about the world title, I’m just thinking about the win,” Perez said.
“When I sign the contract, whether it’s to fight Brandon Moreno or Deiveson, [Jordan] Espinosa or someone I fought in the past, if you don’t get excited when you sign on the dotted line to get paid to punch someone in the face, something is wrong with you man.”
Perez is first challenger for Figueiredo
Alex Perez is the first to challenge Figueiredo for the flyweight title. Figueiredo captured the title with a first-round submission win against Joseph Benavidez at UFC Fight Night 172 this past July.
The Brazilian is currently on a four-fight win streak, including back-to-back finishes over Benavidez.
Perez built a win streak of his own, especially in 2020. He most recently put away former challenger Jussier Formiga in the first round via leg kicks at UFC 250 in June. Earlier this year, the California native choked out Espinosa at UFC Fight Night 166 in January.
With Moreno pegged at No. 2 in the UFC flyweight rankings, Perez sees little differences between Figueiredo and Moreno. Perez is putting the focus on himself.
“Basically the same way we are going to fight Moreno is the same way we’re going to fight Deiveson,” Perez said. “I think anyone in the top 10 and top 15 can beat anyone on any day. Obviously everyone is a little bit different. Moreno is not a knockout puncher, he’s going to bring volume, Deiveson is a knockout guy, he’s going to bring that heater from start to finish.”
Now or later
Perez’s three-fight win streak was enough for the UFC to choose him as the replacement for Garbrandt. With Perez, Moreno and Aksar Aksarov being the front runners to challenge Figuiredo, some of the flyweights took offense when former bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt earned an immediate title shot before never making the 125-pound mark before.
Both Moreno and Askarov are ranked ahead of Perez on the UFC flyweight rankings. The call to fight for the title came as a slight surprise to Perez since he is seated at No. 4. Whether it was now or later, Perez saw the title shot coming no matter what.
“When they announced Cody, obviously you’re a little upset, but I understand the UFC’s part. It’s a money business. There’s nothing to be upset about, sometimes in life just cause you feel like you earned it, doesn’t mean you’re going to get it, so I kind took it on the chin and kept going forward,” Perez said. “If Moreno had gotten it, you wouldn’t have heard anything bad from me. Obviously my time would have come. No matter what, I have to fight everyone in the division. It didn’t matter if it was now or later, I was going to get my title shot.”