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“I’m down,” he laughed, then added, “I’m trying to stay as focused as possible, trying to control everything that I can control.”

So as the Coronavirus situation takes so many things out of our control, Perez is working out at home, spending time with his family and working on the mental side of the game, which includes taking a long, hard look at the 125-pound weight class and his place in it. At the moment, he’s sitting pretty at the number nine spot in the rankings, having won two in a row and 10 of his last 11. 

The lone blemish, a November 2018 loss to Joseph Benavidez that he can’t wait to get back.

“I tell people I’m gonna call Benavidez out after I win every fight,” said Perez. “I do my job, eventually I get my rematch, and I will get my rematch before he retires.” 

Suffice to say, Perez doesn’t believe Benavidez should get a second shot at the vacant title against the man who just stopped him, Deiveson Figueiredo.

“Honestly, I feel Joe shouldn’t get a rematch,” Perez said. “Yeah, he’s blaming the headbutt (for the stoppage), but he caused the headbutt. When I fought him, he headbutted me, and I’m super upset. How come I don’t get a rematch? So I feel like Benavidez shouldn’t fight for the title. He lost and he made an amateur mistake. He checked his head when he was bleeding and he left his hand down and got caught with that right hand.”

So who should get the next shot at the crown left vacant last month because Figueiredo missed weight for the Benavidez bout? 

“I feel like (Alexandre) Pantoja might be the number one contender right now and Pantoja’s lost to Figueiredo, but then beat (Brandon) Moreno.”


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