‘Goyito’ to fight winner of Combate tournament

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Bantamweight Erik Perez became a free agent after a win over Felipe Arantes at UFC Fight Night 98. He focused for a time on recovering from a torn knee ligament suffered in the Arantes victory. Then he tested the waters and ended up signing with the surging Combate Americas. In a recent interview with Nick Baldwin for BloodyElbow.com, Perez explained why he didn’t return to the UFC, and why he signed with Combate.

“I was really interested in renewing with the UFC, but the proposal from Combate was really good,” said Perez. “I really liked the way the people worked there. It was like a family. It’s what I like about Combate. It’s why it was my decision to go to Combate. … And it gives me another opportunity to do other things besides fighting. I will help Combate become one of the biggest leagues.”

Perez has already started commentating for Combate, and is being spoken of as potentially the face of the organization, like Royce Gracie in the earliest days of MMA. However, the fighter is modest and sober in his appraisal.

“For now, I’m just another fighter,” he said. “I need to go build myself and win a fight. I need to get to the cage and knock a guy out. After that, after I win the title, maybe I’m the new face for Combate. Right now, I’m just another fighter. I prepare myself every day to be the No. 1 in Combate.”

A huge step for Goyito will take place in a few months, as Combate president Campbell McLaren announced during a recent media luncheon that he will face the winner of Saturday’s 8 man bantamweight tournament.