When fight fans and pundits call Mike Perry’s second-round masterpiece over Jake Ellenberger at UFC Fight Night 108 the early frontrunner for ‘2017 Knockout of the Year,’ Perry can’t help but agree.
Perry demolished Ellenberger with a grisly standing elbow knockout on Saturday night, leaving Ellenberger down on the canvas for several minutes afterward. When asked if the devastating finish should be considered the best knockout of the year thus far, Perry said Monday on The MMA Hour that it should, though not because of the scary sight that followed it with Ellenberger.
“That doesn’t matter to me. I’m not excited about how long the guy is asleep for,” Perry said on The MMA Hour. “I was excited to have won against one of the top athletes in the world, and won in a winner’s fashion. So I was excited about that, but his health, things like that — I saw him the next morning in the hotel lobby, so I’m glad he’s doing alright.
“I think I was like, ‘how are you?’ or ‘how you doing?’ and he said he was good, so nothing else needed to be said.”
The performance at UFC Fight Night 108 served as a welcome rebound for Perry, whose stock took a hit in December when “Platinum” suffered his first career loss at the hands of Alan Jouban at UFC on FOX 22.
But with his knockout of Ellenberger, Perry propelled his UFC record back up to 3-1, with all three of those wins ending in vicious finishes from the heavy-handed 25-year-old. And a cult following of Mike Perry fans were once again out in full force across the internet, celebrating the return of a man who is quickly becoming one of the most intriguing — and divisive — prospects in the UFC lightweight division.
“Real recognize real, that’s why,” Perry said. “I keep it real, and that’s great to hear that people understand it wasn’t no fluke the first two times. It wasn’t a fluke on Saturday night. What happened with Jouban was just one athlete against another, and one was a little smarter that night. He was a little smarter than me that night. I gave that away. That’s what happened, I gave it away. It’s my fault.
“But I can live with that, I can deal with that, because if you want to come and grab me and get me, if you want to finish, now we’re talking my language. You’re going to have to stand in front of me for long enough for me to put my hands on you.”
Perry indicated that his loss to Jouban was somewhat of an eye-opening experience, one that made him reassess his preparation and rededicate himself to the nuances of the fight game.
“I think I handled [the loss] well, considering how I came back,” Perry said. “It was fine, it just lit a fire under my ass. Excuse my language. I got ready to stop messing around. I don’t know, I paid more attention and I got things done right, and I didn’t slack on my diet, and I didn’t not go run when I supposed to or should have. I went and did those things, no matter how comfortable I was.
“My weight cut (for UFC on FOX 22), at times, was nowhere near the weight cut I just had,” Perry added. “There was a lot of suffering involved for the Jouban weight cut, and there was none for this one. I could’ve fought the day of weigh-ins.”
After fighting three times in his first five months in the UFC in 2016, Perry now hopes to replicate that pace in 2017. Though the year is already nearing its halfway mark, Perry hopes to have five fights in the books by the end of December, even if that means fighting the kind of schedule that would give Donald Cerrone pause.
“I’m going to try to surpass [my total for 2016],” Perry said. “How many months we got left? We’ll see. (I want to fight) every month-and-a-half. Every month-and-a-half, okay, so four more.
“I could’ve fought again Saturday night. Of course that would’ve taken a toll on my body, but I was in the back saying ‘what if this was the NBA or the NFL, what if our sport worked that way and it was just a set of games?’ I mean, I spar in the gym every other day, so why can’t I take someone who’s actually trying really, really hard and still not let them injure me. So, I can, and I showed that.”
Perry has high aspirations for those fights, as well. Though he is early in his UFC rise, Perry already has his sights set squarely on UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley.
“Man, that night that I fought (on Saturday), I was Snapchat’ing the champ right before I think he did his little news interview,” Perry said. “And I sent him a video talking about belts, collecting them, because I’d seen his little thing, man. He said ‘get a ticket, pack a lunch.’ I told him I was ready for my field trip.
“Respect to him. I have to get a couple more before I’ve even earned that. I’m ready for him, but I gotta get a couple more. But it’ll be fun. I’ll just beat a couple guys up and it’ll be fun.”
As for who’s next, Perry reiterated remarks made in his post-fight interview that it really doesn’t matter to him. Whatever the fans want to see, he’s up for the challenge, as long as it’s a name that gets him closer to where he ultimately wants to go.
“I really don’t care. Like I said, whose life do y’all want me to ruin next?” Perry said. “Y’all want the entertainment. Who am I to say (a name), to take money away from a family? I just deliver. They order and I deliver. That’s what I’m here for.
“There’s a lot of names (I’m hearing from fans),” Perry added. “Everybody. Neil Magny, (Tarec) Saffiedine, also Robbie Lawler, Thiago Alves or Gunnar (Nelson). So, any one of them. … Let’s do it. Whatever they offer, I’m not going to say no. I’m going to get the job done.”
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