After earning a contract with the UFC following a win over Kevin Gray at Dana White’s Contender Series in August of last year, flyweight Alex Perez has made the most of his opportunity.
In three bouts since the Contender Series, Perez has picked up three wins, including two finishes.
“I signed my contract in August and broke in at Fresno with a good (second round submission) win over (Carls John) de Tomas,” Perez told MMAWeekly.com. “A few months later I fought Eric Shelton, who was a well-rounded guy, in what wasn’t my best performance (in a unanimous decision victory).
“But I came back with another fight against (Jose) Torres where I did all right (with a first round TKO). I have a lot of stuff to work on, but it’s been a good way getting my name out there with that performance.”
For Perez, his strong start is nothing he wasn’t expecting. As he points out, he feels like this is the level he should have been at for quite some time.
“I feel like I belonged in the UFC a long time ago,” said Perez. “Now that I’m here I’m taking my time and soaking it all in. things happen for a reason, but I feel like now is my time.
“I’ve been to PPV events and stuff like that for a couple of these guys who had fights coming up, but I was happy it was me this time (this August against Torres) and not somebody else. I’m just trying to enjoy the process.”
On Friday in Las Vegas, Perez (21-4) will look to stay undefeated in the UFC when he faces Joseph Benavidez (25-5) in a main card 125-pound bout at The Ultimate Fighter 28 Finale.
“Fighting Joe is a big honor,” Perez said. “It’s a big fight for me. It’s my hardest bout to date. Overall he’s the biggest name I’ve fought ever.
“We both like to stand up. We’re both good wrestlers. Both of our ground games are pretty good. I think whoever takes a step back first is going to lose this fight. I think it’s going to come down to pressure and who can make the least amount of mistakes to win this fight. “
Now that Perez is closing out his first year in the UFC, he’s looking to continue down the path he’s started in the promotion and looking to see where it takes him in 2019.
“I’ll just wait and see what the UFC decides,” said Perez. “My job is to fight. It’s not to match make or anything like that. For me it’s waiting and see what the UFC wants. I’ve never turned down a fight in 25, 30, fights, and I’m not going to start now.”