Alex Perez is not surprised he’s fighting for a UFC title this weekend.
The UFC flyweight contender challenges champion Deiveson Figueiredo in the main event of Saturday’s UFC 255 pay-per-view event in Las Vegas. Perez (24-5 MMA, 6-1 UFC) is a top figure at 125 pounds, but he wasn’t in the original title plans for Saturday’s card.
Figueiredo (19-1 MMA, 8-1 UFC) was scheduled to complete his first title defense against former bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt, but an injury forced “No Love” to pull out from the event. And even then, many expected Perez’s original UFC 255 opponent, Brandon Moreno, to get the short-notice call, as he’s higher ranked in the UFC’s official rankings.
But the Team Oyama product wasn’t at all surprised to gave received the title shot over Moreno.
“I felt like I was next in line just based on my performance against Formiga,” Perez said Wednesday’s UFC 255 virtual media day. “Everyone says Brandon Moreno, but we both fought the same guy – he went to decision while (Perez) finished him.
“I felt like Jussier could’ve won (against Moreno) personally. I might be a little biased because Jussier is my friend, but we fought the same guy and I finished him the first round, so I felt like I was next in line.”
Moreno now faces rising contender Brandon Royval at UFC 255.
Whether fans think Perez deserved the short-notice call is irrelevant, as he’s the man fighting for gold Saturday. Perez expects nothing but a war with the champion.
“Wherever it goes I feel comfortable,” Perez said. “I’ve been training it all. I haven’t been doing just one specific thing. From the wrestling to the striking to the grappling, I’m ready for whatever and where ever the fight goes.
“I know he’s no slouch and I’m pretty sure he think I’m not a slouch and we’re going 25 minutes. If it ends early, it ends early, but I’m there for war.”