Alejandro Perez is looking to take his fighting career to new heights in 2018.
The season one winner of The Ultimate Fighter: Latin America wants to get his name in the UFC bantamweight rankings. And being unbeaten in his last five UFC bouts, Perez believes it’s time time for the UFC to match him up against high-level opposition, specifically ones that have a number next to their name.
“I would like to fight anyone in the top-15, anyone,” Perez told MMA Fighting. “Since I’m a fighter at 135 pounds and I want to get in the rankings, I’m going to have to fight someone who’s already in the top, so right now, I don’t really have a preference.
“It can be Brett Johns, it can be Aljamain Sterling, anyone. I need to get myself in the top-15 or hopefully the top-10. I just want to fight against someone ranked. It’s nothing personal. I want to advance in my career, I want to get a good opponents, so I can bring back good wins for Mexico.”
Perez’s latest streak includes a draw against Albert Morales – where Perez was deducted a point for swinging at Morales after the bell – but also four victories over solid opposition such as Scott Jorgensen, Ian Entwistle, Andre Soukhamthath and most recently Iuri Alcantara.
The win over Alcantara at December’s UFC Fresno show is Perez’s most high-profile win to this day. Alcantara is 44-fight veteran that not so long ago was in the UFC’s 135-pound rankings. Perez believes the win over the Brazilian has given him a lot more confidence that he’ll get to carry over into 2018.
“I do get satisfaction and it also strengthens your internal confidence that you can do it,” Perez explained. “And more than anything, it gives me a lot of happiness. I might not be doing everything perfect, but I’ve been doing a good job, I’ve been racking up victories, and I just have to keep learning and keep staying hungry, so that I can get my name with the best 15 fighters of the world.”
Looking to fight ranked opposition is not Perez’s only goal this year. The 28-year-old fighter wants to get more opportunities to showcase his skills in main card slots of UFC events.
“I was the main event of the preliminary card in my last fight, which you can only watch on UFC Fight Pass, and that’s good, but I want to be known throughout the world,” Perez said. “I feel like now it’s the time to be fighting on main cards and I’m willing to do anything to make that happen.”
Perez is eyeing to fight sometime in March. The Mexican fighter wants to keep busy this year and compete a total of three times, which he thinks should be enough to get him in the rankings.
“It depends how things play out, but I would love to be sitting at No. 9 by the end of the year, so that next year I can keep climbing towards the title. But right now, my goal is to fight and enter the rankings.”