When the news broke that Mirko Cro Cop's new opponent at UFC 110 would be Anthony Perosh, the most common question asked by MMA fans was, "Who?"
Perosh, an Australian with a 10-5 MMA record, is unknown by all but the hardest of hard-core MMA fans. He has two UFC fights on his record, but both were losses and neither was broadcast on pay-per-view, so not many Americans have seen him fight. If you're one of those who hasn't seen him fight, you can watch him getting knocked out by James Te-Huna (who's also on the UFC 110 card) above. If Perosh couldn't handle Te-Huna's striking, he's going to have an awfully tough time handling Cro Cop's.
But Perosh says he's ready.
"I first got the call on Thursday afternoon," Perosh told Elliot Worsell of UFC.com. "Joe Silva asked me what my weight was and I said 215. He then asked me if I wanted to fight and that Ben Rothwell might withdraw from his bout with Cro Cop. He said they were going to wait until Friday morning to make a final decision and that I should think about it."
Although a bout with Cro Cop is the opportunity of a lifetime, Perosh initially said he didn't want to do it -- not so much because he'd be taking a fight he has very little chance of winning, but because he idolizes Cro Cop.
"I actually said 'no' originally," Perosh said. "I look up to Cro Cop and he's a fellow Croatian. My parents are Croatian and I've actually been training the other Croatians appearing on this UFC 110 card. "I then went and watched (this week's pre-fight) press conference and listened to the comment Dana White made about how many fighters actually turn down opportunities. That just made me realize what a big chance this was. How could I turn down the opportunity to fight on the main card at UFC 110 against one of the best guys in the world? Not only that, the fight takes place on the UFC's first ever show in Australia. I quickly called Joe Silva back and said, 'yeah – I'll do it'."
Although Perosh usually fights at light heavyweight, he says he'll be in fighting shape and weighing around 220 pounds against Cro Cop, so he won't have too much of a size disadvantage. And you could argue that Perosh, a Brazilian jiu jitsu black belt, actually has an advantage if the fight goes to the ground. Perosh has won seven fights by submission in his MMA career, while Cro Cop is a stand-up striker who never wants to go to the ground.
"It's no secret that I'm going to try and take him down, ground-and-pound him and then choke him out," Perosh said. "I believe I have the ground skills to do this."
Realistically, Perosh (who at 37 is actually two years older than Cro Cop) has almost no chance of winning -- and if he does win it'll say more about where Cro Cop is at this point in his career than it says about Perosh.
But give the guy credit for stepping in on late notice and allowing the legendary Cro Cop to stay on the card. Good on you, mate.