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Between rounds of Saturday’s co-main event clash against Mickey Gall, Mike Perry felt a sense of calm that he claims he wouldn’t have experienced with one or more coaches in his ear.
Trusting his own instincts and experience proved to be enough, as Perry earned a convincing unanimous verdict over Gall in a welterweight bout at UFC on ESPN 12 in Las Vegas.
“I did my thing, and I kept my cool. It was helpful not having a corner,” Perry said during Saturday’s post-fight show on ESPN+. “I felt like the whole time I was in the corner I was thinking about how the next round was going to be, how I needed to be and I was my own coach. I pulled it off tonight in a big way.”
Instead of a traditional team and camp, “Platinum” headed to Sin City with only his girlfriend, Latory Gonzalez, in tow. The decision was highly scrutinized during fight week, but Perry was happy to be vindicated with a victory at the end of the evening.
“I told everybody. I said what it was gonna be. Yes, proven right is what it is tonight,” Perry said at the post-fight press conference. “I feel awesome tonight, I can’t lie. There was a lot of haters, hating on us, hating on her. She was so innocent in all this.
“Obviously, it’s because I say things, I talk from the entertainment side of the sport. And also because they be hating on me so hard so I just talk back. When she started getting it, I was just really upset. I fed off that tonight.”
Perry also praised Gonzalez for her work on fight night – and simply not trying to do too much.
“She did a great job. She kept it very simple. She shouted a couple things during the fight…she was like, ‘Keep your hand up’ one time he had swung and just missed. In the corner, when she was in there rubbing the ice on me, she kept asking me, ‘What else do you want or what can I do?’ She was trying to do more for me and it was really cool to just sit in there quiet, thinking about how the next round was going to go,” he said.
“She was perfect because she knows she hasn’t been in my position. She spoke from a humble standpoint on the outside. She kept it simple. I didn’t need any advice. Maybe that was luck tonight, but I didn’t.”
Perry nonetheless admitted that he’d like to find a new training camp before his next bout. He even hinted at a move to American Top Team so that he could work with Yoel Romero in preparation for middleweight fight against rival Darren Till. Whether that comes to fruition remains to be seen, but it doesn’t sound like Perry will enter his next UFC appearance with the same setup as he did on Saturday. The key is finding a situation that works for him.
“I know I need more bodies. I need more work with higher level guys,” he said. “… I need to see how the whole camp needs to go together. Obviously, I need to put it together my way, and that’s why I was successful tonight. Depending on where I want to move to is where I’ll build my camp around myself and my family and where I’ll make the next portion of my life.”
Regardless of what the future holds, Perry says he is in MMA for the long haul. There is no exit strategy.
“This is the only career for Mike Perry. It may not be a career for some people, but for me this is definitely something I always wanted to do. 10, 20, 30 years – I can do this all the way to 50 like Ken Shamrock,” he said. “I could promote fights. I could do WWE wrestling. I am an entertainer. I’m an athlete. This is my lifestyle right here. You can’t take this away from me.”