Looking back over his 2019, flyweight Alex Perez might not feel as if it was his ideal year, but it was nonetheless a successful one for him.
At UFC on ESPN 2 in March, Perez picked up a unanimous decision victory over Mark De La Rosa, before being forced to sit out the remainder of the year following an injury, missing a scheduled bout at UFC on ESPN+ 14 versus Sergio Pettis in the process.
“It wasn’t a bad year,” Perez told MMAWeekly.com. “I came out with a win last year. I wasn’t as active as I usually am, but I thought it was a good year. I got a win against a really tough opponent, so I can’t really complain about it.”
When it comes to the missed bout against Pettis, Perez is understandably disappointed, but more so about losing a chance to fight in front of his family than anything.
“I’m bummed a little bit,” said Pettis. “There’s nothing I can do about it. I’m a competitor and I want to compete against the best in the world, and (Pettis is) one of the best guys in the world at my weight class. It was a big opportunity.
“I was really looking forward to fighting in Mexico City. I’ve got a lot of family, so it was more disappointing that they weren’t going to be able to watch me live.”
At UFC on ESPN+ 24 in Raleigh, North Carolina, on Saturday, Perez (22-5) will have his first bout in nearly 10 months when he faces Jordan Espinosa (14-6) in a main card 125-pound bout.
“I’ve gotten a lot better since the last time people have seen me fight,” Perez said. “I test myself against some of the best people in the world in a daily basis. I know where I stand, and I’m excited to show everybody.
“I think (who wins) depends on who’s on that night. We have very similar skills. We’re both well-rounded guys. I think it’s a great fight for the fans and everybody. It could be Fight of the Night.”
For Perez, the bigger picture is much the same as it is for other fighters, so for him it’s more important to focus on what’s beneficial to him, specifically, in 2020.
“Obviously, everybody’s goal is to be UFC champion and stuff like that, but I set personal goals,” said Perez. “My personal goal is to win three fights.
“I’m not naming anybody, because you can’t overlook anybody. I want to win three fights this year. I want to be in the Top 5 of the rankings by the end of the year.”