Any conversation leading up to Anthony Perosh’s return to the Octagon this Saturday against Vinny Magalhaes has to start with the following question:
How’s the toe?
“The toe’s a hundred percent,” said the Sydney native, whose broken digit forced him out of a UFC on FX 6 bout with Joey Beltran last December. “I broke it last November, and it was pretty much three months for a full recovery. It was two months for the bone to heal, and then a month of rehab and getting the range back.”
That’s good news. Now a confession. I often pull out the picture of Perosh’s broken toe (go ahead, google it, it’s everywhere) to shock various friends and family members.
“I still do the same thing,” laughed Perosh, who was surprised how quickly the picture went viral. So was this the worst injury he’s sustained in his competitive career?
“From a gruesome point of view, I guess so,” he chuckles. “But it did keep me out for two months where I couldn’t do anything while the bone healed. So it’s like any other broken bone. You just have to let it heal. It was real disappointing that it happened while preparing for a fight because no one likes to pull out of fights because of injury, but it is what is, and injuries and dealing with injuries are part of the game,. You just have to accept it and deal with it accordingly.”
Yet while he can laugh about it now, Perosh would probably admit that he doesn’t want to be remembered for a 2012 campaign that included the broken toe heard ‘round the world and a seven second loss to Ryan Jimmo at UFC 149.
“It is what it is,” he said of the knockout defeat against Jimmo, his first loss since 2010. “You just have to do better the next time because there’s nothing you can do. Look at what happened to Anderson Silva; he dropped his hands and got knocked out by a wrestler. Chris Weidman’s great, but he’s not a striker. But anyone can get caught at any given time; you’ve just got to always be focused and always respect your opponent.”
Perosh has plenty of it for his upcoming foe, fellow Jiu-Jitsu black belt Magalhaes. On paper, it looks to be an interesting match between two respected ground fighters, but you know how that scenario usually plays out: it turns into a kickboxing match.
“It has the potential to be many things,” Perosh admits. “It could be just a striking match. It could be a completely on the ground match, but it could be the most boring BJJ match you’ve ever seen in the world (Laughs), or it has the potential of being a great fight. But all of my wins, I’ve finished my opponents, so I’m not out there to stall or just go for points. I’m going out there to finish, one way or another.”
And with six of his 13 pro wins coming by knockout, he wants fans to see just how dedicated he is to showing off a complete MMA game.
“I’ve been working hard on my striking for a good three years now, ever since I became a light heavyweight in the UFC,” said Perosh. “I train striking twice as much as I do jiu-jitsu and wrestling, and I don’t class myself as any Anderson Silva, but I’m constantly improving, and it might be the slight edge I need for my fight.”
With a victory, that’s four of his last five in the win column, with the only blemish being the loss to Jimmo. That’s an impressive run in a stacked division to say the least, though something people may have forgotten given the long layoff.
“It’s always hard with the public, and the public is always more critical with grapplers,” he said. “I won three in a row, all against strikers (Tom Blackledge, Cyrille Diabate, Nick Penner), and I finished them. And then I fought another striker, Jimmo, last year and got knocked out, and straight away it was ‘oh, he’s got crap striking.’ But they never give the strikers any grief about having crap grappling. (Laughs) It’s always the poor grappler that gets the stick. But MMA is unforgiving and you have to accept that. You’re only as good as your last fight and people always look at my last fight. I got knocked out in seven seconds, but now I’m more than pumped, not for the public, but for myself. I want to get back into the swing of things and back into the win column.”
And at 40, he’s not about to pack it in just yet.
“I love MMA,” he said. “I’ve been doing martial arts for 20 years now and I’m a competitor. I was a competitor from Day One, and just like any other competitor, you want to keep going as long as you can. As you long as you can win more than you lose, and you still love it and still want it and still can keep up with the other guys, you’ll do it as long as you can. That’s my goal and that’s still what I want to do.”
2012 Behind Him, Anthony Perosh Gets a Fresh Start
"I’m more than pumped, not for the public, but for myself. I want to get back into the swing of things and back into the win column." - Anthony Perosh