Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Mike Perry didn’t get here by accident.

The 32-year-old veteran earned the spotlight that’s been thrust on him by delivering several stunning finishes and fights when he competed in the UFC. But his real star power emerged after moving over to bare-knuckle boxing, where he’s become the face of BKFC and undoubtedly the biggest draw in the promotion.

Perry has taken out two former UFC champions — Luke Rockhold and Eddie Alvarez — in his two most recent fights, and he faces another legend on Saturday when he clashes with former BKFC champion Thiago Alves in the BKFC KnuckleMania 4 main event from Los Angeles. Through hard work and a lot of blood spilled, Perry appreciates that he’s become the A-side whenever he fights these days, but that doesn’t mean he’s looking to coast by on his celebrity whenever he competes.

“I’m thinking about who the heck I’m going to fight next,” Perry told MMA Fighting. “We’re talking about the résumé that I have, and yes, you’ll tune in to watch Mike Perry fight because it’s Mike Perry, but Mike Perry fights great names.

“Like [Floyd] Mayweather fought the names. He fought the other names and he beat like 26 world champions. The bigger the name, the bigger the movie.”

Because Perry draws such a crowd now, it might appear that his opposition doesn’t matter as much, at least as far as name value is concerned. But he disagrees.

He’ll gladly take a hefty paycheck if BKFC wants to throw him in the ring with somebody the viewing audience doesn’t immediately recognize, but he appreciates the tougher fights against established veterans like Alves, Rockhold, or Alvarez.

To add to that, Perry knows there’s always going to be some up-and-coming prospect looking to make a name for themselves off him and there’s inherent danger in those fights.

“I have been fighting incredible matchups, amazing names, and I’m grateful for real, for great opportunities,” Perry said. “Not to say my money isn’t already there on paper and if they did give me a taxi driver — people thought Andy Ruiz was a taxi driver at one time. They didn’t know that he’s going to go in the ring and beat Anthony Joshua and then have a 12-round bout with him again. You’ve got to stay on your toes no matter what.

“If I had to fight one of these other chumps who no one knows, who think they’ve got big f*cking shit to talk on their chest, like they’re wearing it — if you get there, you get there, and when you get there, I can show the world what the f*ck I do to a cab driver too, if they pay me for it.”

Ideally, Perry prefers that BKFC continues to seek out the highest-profile opponents possible, and he’ll gladly keep knocking them down.

“I’m getting names, though,” Perry said. “God is putting these hard ass fights in front of me with guys who have been fighting for years and we’re still going. We’ve got another 10 or 15 years to keep going.”

Of course unlike his previous two opponents, who happily traded trash talk with him to help promote the fight, Perry isn’t getting that same kind of reaction out of Alves.

The one-time UFC welterweight title challenger may be a ferocious competitor when he’s fighting, but he’s usually soft-spoken and very respectful outside the ring.

That doesn’t bother Perry one bit, because he knows whether Alves says anything inflammatory or not, the Brazilian is going to bring the war to him on Saturday night.

“It’s all good,” Perry said. “Thiago, he brings something cool to the table. Based on the success I’ve had in bare-knuckle, the new faces that have watched and have realized the excitement that they’re tuning into. For someone like me, it’s not a mismatch and that’s what’s going to make it great for me. I have to be something more than I’ve been.

“Thiago, who he is as a person and as a fighter and a professional athlete, he is making me more focused. Because I’ve been in the game too. I have a lot of skin in the game. I’ve seen these things to where when we get in the ring, none of this other shit is going to matter other than the training we did, our skills and our abilities.

“I like to try to entertain, even if I look a little silly sometimes. That’s OK to me. I like to be loose and relaxed, but I try to speak with the truth with what I say.”

Author: Staff

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