At just 23 years old, Erik Perez is part of the “new breed” of young talent in the UFC. The proud Mexic0-native has looked phenomenal since making his octagon debut last year, bursting onto the scene with three first round stoppages in as many fights. It’s this sort of exciting young prospect that the UFC has always built their promotion on, but “El Goyito” brings additional benefit to the table. As the only fighter on the UFC’s roster to be born in Mexico, he could very well be a key piece in the UFC’s expansion into South America. Every sport needs its ambassadors, and in mixed martial arts it would help to have a sensational young finisher who wears his heart on his sleeve. In El Goyito’s case, he wears it on his face.
Fans may remember his prior appearances due to the iconic luchador mask that he dons on his way to the octagon, and even during some interviews. It’s a symbol of his culture that he is proud of, and Perez recently spoke with MMA Fighting about his role in the expansion of the sport:
“It’s not only Mexico. It’s all the Latinos. I’m representing all the Latinos and I want to [get] the UFC into Mexico. I want UFC in Argentina. I want UFC in Puerto Rico. The mask is for all the Latinos that support me. I’ll wear the mask every time.”
For him to make the sort of impact that leads to growth of the sport in the region, Perez will need to continue the improvement of his all around game, and keep winning in impressive fashion. He made the move to Albuquerque, New Mexico several years ago, and his development is in good hands with famed trainers Greg Jackson and Mike Winkeljohn. He believes that he has all the tools needed to be a champion one day, and isn’t afraid to articulate the timeline he has in mind:
“My dream is a title. Five years more, I want to [have] won the title. I’m 23. [I’d be] 28? Yeah, I need a title. Five years more, I think I’ve [won] the title, still [defending] the title — one mini Anderson Silva.”
It remains to be seen whether he will ever be considered a “mini Anderson Silva,” but his talent and potential are unquestionable. Perez will be competing this Wednesday evening during UFC Fight Night 27, taking on Takeya Mizugaki in a three round bantamweight affair. We’ll be bringing you full coverage of the event, so stay tuned.