BY EVAN HERTZOG
Hide your kids. Hide your wife. Hide your chin. Bring a knife.
All precautions one should take when stepping inside of a cage with “Platinum” Mike Perry (10-1 10 KO’S). He is 3 and 1 since making his debut at UFC 202 last august, with his only set back coming against rugged veteran Alan Jouban by way of Unanimous Decision in December of 2016. Otherwise he has blown through his opposition, compiling three knockout victories in his first four fights on the big stage, knocking out Hyun Gyu Lim in the first round of his UFC debut, just to follow it up with a third-round knockout two months later over Danny Roberts in England on the Bisping vs Henderson2 undercard.
There is no doubt that Mike Perry has established himself as a, “love him or hate him”, type of fighter in the early going of his UFC career and the fights he has put on so far is only driving that narrative. Perry was an unknown undefeated fighter when he made his debut but he became a household name immediately after his actions at his first UFC weigh-ins against Gyu Lim, as he extended his hand to shake his opponents’ just to pull it back at the last second and posture into fight stance while screaming at the top of his lungs. He backed it up the following night and so the love hate relationship began. To be honest I loved his approach from the moment I watched him at that weigh-in but it most certainly wasn’t universally accepted and loved.
Fast forward two months and Perry made his return to the octagon. This time not an unknown but rather a known, with all eyes on him and his pre-fight antics as he travelled across seas and into enemy territory to take on England’s own Danny Roberts but it wasn’t what he did at the weigh-ins that had people talking about “Platinum” on that following Sunday morning. Mike Perry went to war and in the first time in his career, he was pushed outside of the second round and truly tested. Showing pure guts and will after being down on many peoples’ scorecards in a razor thin war going into the third round, Perry was able to survive multiple head kicks and land a vicious knee that sent Roberts stiff to the canvas late in the final round.
His only stumble came just two months later against Alan Jouban who looked to be the much fresher fighter and Perry coming off a war just two months prior, seemed to be suffering from the effects of the Roberts fight still. He looked to be half the fighter that we had previously seen and I had my suspicions that he was overworked and took on too much of a work load in his first six months in the UFC. Still showing absolute toughness and a chin that is starting to gain a reputation as one of the best in the welterweight division, Perry was able to survive and take his first loss of his career by way of Unanimous Decision.
Many on the internet that didn’t take kindly to Perry and his brash pre-fight style, celebrated this loss and took the opportunity to label him as over rated immediately, totally disregarding who he is as a fighter when the microphones are turned off and the performances he had previously put on since joining the UFC. The other portion of fight fans seemed eager to see how Perry would bounce back after being outclassed by Jouban and taking his first loss of his career. I was in the latter of those two and honestly, I wasn’t sure it would be good for Perry depending on the matchup made and how long of a break the UFC would let him take after his initial whirl wind of three fights in six months.
With those questions floating in my head, I didn’t feel that the answers to those questions would be promising after hearing his following fight announcement. It was announced that he would be squaring off with long time UFC veteran Jake Ellenberger. Now I must say I liked the amount of time off between fights this time for Perry, with almost five months passing since his fight with Jouban but I was a little bit wary of the match up. Although ranked 13th in the welterweight division, this was really a must win fight for Ellenberger going into it after dropping six of his last eight fights. It felt as though the vet Ellenberger had his back against the wall and drawing Mike Perry after his first loss in his career was just what the doctor ordered for the “Juggernaut”.
I was wrong.
The first round saw Perry come out and look more relaxed than any of his previous fights and wasn’t quite as stiff as Ellenberger as they circled and exchanged. The first round saw some really nice kick boxing exchanges and two takedowns by Ellenberger. It was what happened after the takedowns that made me think that we might be seeing and even better version of Mike Perry after taking his first loss just months prior, because he popped up immediately from both takedowns, seemingly frustrating Ellenberger early. His jab was also finding a home and he was determined to go to the body of the “Juggernaut”, early and often throughout the first round.
About a minute into the second round we were seeing more of the same types of exchanges we started to see towards the end of the first round and Perry was sticking to his game plan, staying outside, and going to the body when he could. All it took was one big right hand from Ellenberger to bring out the brawler in Perry though as he immediately threw the game plan out the window and pressed forward landing multiple shots of his own on Ellenberger. Both fighters started landing at close range and the fight was moving towards a war of sorts. I say was because moments later both fighters clinched and looked to throw knees accordingly. As they went to break away from each other, Perry took a slight step backwards and threw an elbow across the chin of Jake Ellenberger, instantly turning off the lights of the Omaha Nebraska fighter.
The crowd roared and “Platinum” Mike Perry, bloodied and tired gave us a little break dance demonstration as Ellenberger laid unconscious and on his back for minutes on the octagon canvas. As he walked the cage taking in all of his glory, he made tribute to the great BJ Penn, while wiping the blood off of his face, onto his hands and then licking it. There is no doubt in mind that he has BJ and many more greats attention after completing his third knockout in three victories since joining the big league.
I do believe we have received our answers to the questions asked of Mike Perry after his loss in December of last year. The answers read to me, that Mike Perry is here and is authentic. He is more than pre-fight hype and I do believe that we are just scratching the surface of what is sure to be a legendary career in mixed martial arts.
“Platinum” Mike Perry: Knockout artist. Ten wins, ten knockouts. Perry will be the UFC’S next big superstar. Wait and see but never blink.