Alex Perez not surprised he got UFC 255 title bout over Brandon Moreno: ‘I was next in line’

Alex Perez is not surprised he’s fighting for a UFC title this weekend.a man wearing a uniform© Provided by MMAJunkie

The UFC flyweight challenges champion Deiveson Figueiredo in the main event of Saturday’s UFC 255 pay-per-view event in Las Vegas. Perez (24-5 MMA, 6-1 UFC) is a top figure at 125 pounds, but he wasn’t in the original title plans for Saturday’s card.

Figueiredo (19-1 MMA, 8-1 UFC) was scheduled to complete his first title defense against former bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt, but an injury forced “No Love” to pull out from the event. And even then, many expected Perez’s original UFC 255 opponent, Brandon Moreno, to get the short-notice call, as he’s higher ranked in the UFC’s official rankings.

But the Team Oyama product wasn’t at all surprised to receive the title shot over Moreno.

“I felt like I was next in line just based on my performance against Formiga,” Perez said Wednesday’s UFC 255 virtual media day. “Everyone says Brandon Moreno, but we both fought the same guy – he went to decision while (Perez) finished him.

“I felt like Jussier could’ve won (against Moreno) personally. I might be a little biased because Jussier is my friend, but we fought the same guy and I finished him the first round, so I felt like I was next in line.”

Gallery: Ranking the 10 title unification bouts in UFC history (SMG)

With then-UFC featherweight champion Conor McGregor seeking another belt, got a chance to reclaim part of his throne.  Aldo defeated Frankie Edgar to win the interim featherweight title at UFC 200 and was later promoted to undisputed champ when McGregor failed to defend his belt for almost a year.  The streaking claimed the interim featherweight title by stopping Anthony Pettis in Round 3 at UFC 206, extending his winning streak to 10 straight.  That set him up in a title unification bout with Aldo at UFC 212, where Holloway was able to withstand Aldo's early barrage and turn the volume up until finishing him in the third round to win the undisputed title.

Moreno now faces rising contender Brandon Royval at UFC 255.

Whether fans think Perez deserved the short-notice call is irrelevant, as he’s the man fighting for gold Saturday. Perez expects nothing but a war with the champion.

“Wherever it goes I feel comfortable,” Perez said. “I’ve been training it all. I haven’t been doing just one specific thing. From the wrestling to the striking to the grappling, I’m ready for whatever and where ever the fight goes.

“I know he’s no slouch and I’m pretty sure he think I’m not a slouch and we’re going 25 minutes. If it ends early, it ends early, but I’m there for war.”

UFC 255 takes place Saturday at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. The main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on ESPN2/ESPN+.

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