GDANSK, Poland – If disaster strikes and one of headliners is forced out of Saturday’s welterweight bout at UFC Fight Night 118, there’s a ready-made replacement raring to go.
Hard-hitting “Platinum” Mike Perry (11-1, 4-1 UFC) is here in Poland as one of the UFC’s guest fighters and, even though he’s not scheduled for action, he’s arrived in superb shape and ready to step in if need-be.
“That’d be a dream come true, man,” Perry today told MMAjunkie at the Ergo Arena, where the UFC Fight Pass-streamed event emanates. “I’m always ready to fight – short notice, any time, anywhere, any place, anyone.
“I know I always say that, but that’s the way I live my life. I’m always in great shape, I’m always training hard, and I’m always ready for anything. I would love to fight this weekend. We’ll see.”
Perry already has a bout scheduled, with the UFC granting his wish to take on top-10 opposition by matching him with Argentinian contender Santiago Ponzinibbio (25-3 MMA, 7-2 UFC).
On paper, at least, the matchup looks like a sure-fire winner, with both men established as two of the most aggressive, come-forward fighters in the welterweight division. It’s also a fight that Perry says he’ll relish as he prepares to face a man he described as a “high-caliber opponent.”
“Moving up in the rankings is just a dream come true again, man, because I came in fast and hard, trying to knock everybody out,” Perry said. “I think (the UFC matchmakers) see that, appreciate that and respect the way I fight, how I fight, why I fight.
“Fighting Ponzinibbio, I see another game opponent. I’m always looking for someone who can stand there and trade shots with me (and) who can take one or two of mine. I had a good fight in front of the European fans out here in Manchester against Danny Roberts, and they loved that fight. He was able to take it and return it.
“So I’m looking for another fight like that – another scrap – but I really don’t see him maintaining for very long and being able to take my shots because of his style, (which) I think matches up very well with mine. I’m going to hit him with some counter-punches that are probably going to lay him down (and) put him to sleep.”
Perry knocked out Alex Reyes in 79 seconds in his last outing, but all the headlines were about his post-fight interview with Jon Anik, as he told the Pittsburgh crowd and everyone watching at home: “Everybody wants to see me beat up Robbie Lawler.”
The UFC opted to go a different direction, with Lawler matched against former lightweight world champion Rafael dos Anjos as the main event of December’s UFC on FOX 26 in Winnipeg. Perry faces Ponzinibbio on the same card.
It wasn’t the exact scenario he’d hoped for, but Perry is content with his situation and says his ultimate aim isn’t a fight with Lawler. It’s a fight for the title.
“I can’t say I’m disappointed, because I am getting a top-10 fight like I asked,” Perry said. “Maybe I won’t get as many fans as if I would have knocked out Robbie Lawler, but that’s all coming in time.”
And while the Orlando native says he plans on building his fanbase with exciting performances, Perry won’t be concerned if he ends up being labeled the “bad guy” for the rest of his UFC career.
“I’m just going to keep pushing towards my goal to be the best in the world, and when I get there, if I still don’t have any fans, I should have a bunch of haters who want to pay to watch me lose,” Perry said. “But I’m going to keep disappointing them.”