If Nate Diaz is looking for a challenge as a free agent, Mike Perry is ready to welcome him to the sport of bare-knuckle fighting.
After completing his UFC contract with a win over Tony Ferguson at UFC 279, Diaz became one of the hottest commodities in combat sports, a proven superstar who can sell fights and back up his words inside the cage or ring.
While the most obvious choice for a next step would appear to be a boxing showdown against Jake Paul, Perry has other ideas, as does BKFC President Dave Feldman, who’s already said he’s pursuing Diaz to gauge his interest in bare-knuckle. A matchup against Perry is the exec’s dream fight.
“My first initial reaction was, I don’t know if that’s where he’s going, where his ideas are,” Perry told The Fighter vs. The Writer when asked about Diaz potentially coming to BKFC. “Because he said he wants to go take over other sports, as far as he wants to be the [UFC President] Dana White of an organization, or the David Feldman of an organization, and run the show and show people how to do it. But he also said things where he’s still got a lot of gas left in the tank.
“He’s still interested in some big fights in his career, and I think that’s what it’s about. If he wants to accept the challenge, to challenge himself, he loves to box. I know he likes jiu-jitsu, too, so I don’t know if it would be something he would be fully interested in because without jiu-jitsu against me and just boxing, I don’t know if he sees himself having a chance against me in the bare-knuckle boxing ring.”
Perry has quickly adapted to bare-knuckle competition, picking up a win in a war against The Ultimate Fighter veteran Julian Lane in his debut. He followed up with a decision over Bellator star Michael “Venom” Page in August.
It was after the fight against Page that Perry was finally convinced he had found a true home in a new sport after inking a deal to join BKFC following a five-year stint with the UFC.
He’s also earning a lot of money as one of BKFC’s marquee stars, which only adds fuel to the fire when he calls for the fight against Diaz.
“We’re talking real big money,” Perry said. “Since fighting with bare-knuckle and Triller, my taxes look like what the UFC fighters got paid the other night — everyone, the whole roster, who got paid the other night on one card, that’s what my brackets look like from fighting a couple of fights. We’re talking big money.
“It’s a real opportunity for anyone involved. It’s not just we’re talking about the sport. It’s real fighting and real money, so if you want that real s*** in your life, come and get some of this ‘Platinum’ heat.”
In many ways, Perry believes he shares a lot of similarities with Diaz, especially with the demeanor they carry toward fighting as well as the attitude that made them fan favorites.
Even when he called out Diaz in the UFC, Perry never took aim at the Stockton, Calif., native over anything personal. His desire was to go up against a kindred spirit who would bring the absolute best out of him.
“It’s a lot of respect there for Nate Diaz,” Perry said. “A lot of fans have said over the years that I’m kind of kin to the Diaz brothers, and that we have the same initial feelings toward fighting. When we’re fighting, it’s a real fight. All that friendly stuff, it doesn’t have to be there until the victor is chosen, and then we can talk about being cool. It’s no animosity. He’s a great competitor, and I am as well.”
If the long-term goal for Diaz is to eventually get the Paul fight, Perry has no problem with that, because he actually called for the same opportunity after his win over Page. With Paul currently preparing for a fight against UFC legend Anderson Silva on Oct. 29, Perry likes the idea of squaring off with Diaz with the winner getting the chance to face the YouTube celebrity turned boxer.
“We should have a fight to see who deserves that fight, if [Jake Paul] can get past Silva,” Perry said. “I know Silva after the Jake Paul, if he wins and stuff after the Jake Paul fight, I’m not trying to call him out but I want the fights that I deserve and that’s whoever the best is that’s out there doing big things. That’s Nate Diaz and me.
“The winner of that should get the Jake Paul fight or even the Anderson Silva fight, no disrespect to the GOAT.”
More than anything, Perry just wants to make sure Diaz is paying attention. He’ll certainly have a lot of offers flying his way, but the always-outspoken 31-year-old brawler knows there won’t be a more fan-friendly opportunity than this one.
“I’m out here calling him out — maybe he’ll try to shut me up,” Perry said. “Whatever we’ve got to do to get the fight that’s most buzzing on the planet, for the fans and for me, because ‘Platinum’ Mike Perry is out here trying to fight. I’m trying to fight the best competition I can get. Whoever’s willing to make it all make sense.
“Nate Diaz, bro, don’t be scared homie. I know you still got a lot of fight left in the tank and bare-knuckle is a real challenge, a real opportunity for both of us. Let’s give the fans what they want to see and I think it’s you and me in bare-knuckle.”