Mike Perry is not a philosopher or a thinker, and he’s not one to build something into something it’s not.
And while the obvious angle for his fight Saturday with Donald Cerrone in Denver on the UFC’s 25th anniversary show is their brief time together as teammates at JacksonWink in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Perry isn’t trying to make more of it than it is.
They sparred once, but Cerrone’s split from the team had nothing to do with Perry and more to do with his unhappiness with the coaches.
But Perry doesn’t need to make more of it because this is one fight that almost sells itself.
“Being on this anniversary show, it makes me wonder how nasty our fight is going to get,” Perry said. “There have been a lot of great fights in the [UFC’s first] 25 years, and this is another one of them. Is it going to be a five-second KO or a 15-minute bloody war? I don’t know, but we’re going to bring it, I know that.”
The fight is critical for both men. Perry won a split decision in July over Paul Felder that halted a two-fight losing streak, while Cerrone has dropped four of five.
They have familiarity with each other from sparring in Albuquerque, but Perry believes he has the upper hand. He didn’t show all of his cards and believes Cerrone will be surprised when he feels his punching power.
“I’m going to stay away from his kicks and I’m going to rush in and hit him with a bunch of power hooks and put him to sleep,” Perry said. “Sparring is different than a fight, but I believe I’ll be able to hit him whenever I want with my hands as long as I get past those kicks.
“I’ve been a fan of his. I went to the [JacksonWink] gym and I talked to him and got some work in with him. Much respect to him for all he’s done in and for this sport. He understands. I’m sure he understands. Like I’ve been saying in all of my interviews, I’m going to make sure he knows this ain’t going to be no sparring match.”
A win would be huge for Perry, and he’s going to reach for the sky if he beats Cerrone. He’s going to call out No. 2 welterweight Darren Till. Perry isn’t ranked and Till plans to move to middleweight, so it’s unlikely the fight would happen, but Perry believes he can make the case for it with a dominant victory over Cerrone.
He said he’s responding to Till’s call-out of him after a win over Cerrone in Poland.
“I believe there is a fight that people will want to see and I’m ready to make it happen,” Perry said. “I want to jump the line a little bit and I think me and Darren Till would make a great fight. We have some unfinished business and that’s kind of the direction I would like to go.
“He called me out after he beat Cowboy, which is why I say there is unfinished business. He’s No. 2, right where I want to be, and he’s fought for the title. I believe he’ll be tough to beat coming off a loss [to Tyron Woodley in a title fight], but that’s the kind of fight I want. That’s the kind of fight I always want.”
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