"I’m not a big talker. I just like to let my hands do the talking in the ring" - Robbie Peralta
UFC featherweight Robbie Peralta is no trash talker, but he’s no shrinking violet either. So when asked about what his Saturday opponent, Thiago Tavares, isn’t ready for when it comes to the drop from the lightweight division down to 145 pounds, he responds without hesitation.
“He’s not ready for me.”
Peralta then laughs, knowing that a comment like that is as close as he’ll get to some good ol’ fashioned smack talk. Anything more just wouldn’t be in his personality. In his world, when you step up to fight, it’s with your fists, not your mouth.
“I’m more of a laid-back guy,” Peralta said. “I don’t do a lot of talking, I just try to show it in the ring. There are some fighters out there who talk a lot, so it gets them more publicity and more recognized. And I know that’s part of it. They (other fighters) hype it up and sell the fight. Me, I’m not a big talker. I just like to let my hands do the talking in the ring; I’m not big on talking with my mouth. I let my actions show.”
Those actions have shown a lot, as the 28-year-old Californian from Escondido is 11-1, 1 NC in his last 13 fights, the only loss coming to Akira Corassani in April of 2013. In his last two bouts, Peralta has knocked out Estevan Payan and decisioned Rony Jason, but he still sits outside the featherweight top 15, something he hopes will be remedied by a big win over Tavares.
“Thiago’s got a big name, so I’m looking to be right there with the top 15,” he said. “I hope this fight will get me some recognition and get me in contention with the top fighters in my division.”
But first, there is the business of Tavares, a veteran standout for years at 155 pounds who is now testing the featherweight waters. He’s no easy out for anyone, but back to that question about what the Brazilian isn’t ready for, and Peralta believes Tavares could be biting off more than he can chew this time.
“The whole weight cut down to 145 is rough,” Peralta said. “It’s not easy. He (Tavares) seems like he’s a big, more muscular guy, so I think it will take a toll on him and wear him down in the fight. And I’m used to the weight cut, so it’s nothing for me.”
Fighting has never been the issue for Peralta, a San Diego native who always knew how to use his hands, though not necessarily in the proper venue.
“I had a hard life,” he said. “I was running around the streets, getting into trouble and getting into fights on the streets. It was something I grew up with and that mentality grew with me. But now I do it in a professional sense instead of out on the streets.”
A pro since 2007, “Problems” honed his craft in Mexico, Honduras, and the Dominican Republic before becoming a fixture on the Southern California fight circuit. A 2011 win over Dream featherweight champion Hiroyuki Takaya in his lone Strikeforce bout opened the door to the UFC for Peralta, and he hasn’t looked back, surprising plenty of people, including himself.
“Sometimes when I’m right there I’m like ‘man, what am I doing here, how did I even get here?’” he said. “I trip out on it, especially with where I came from and everything I’ve been through and the people around me that I grew up with. I see where their lives are at and where I’m at now. Even my old friends are like ‘man, you’ve come a long way.’ It’s still a shock to me that I’m this far and I’m fighting for the UFC.”
The journey isn’t over yet, though don’t expect to see Peralta to change who he is. He will remain what can best be described as a silent warrior.
“People see me and I’m a humble guy, down to Earth and laid-back,” he said. “But once I get into that cage, it’s a different mentality. It’s a warrior mentality – I just have to go out there and make sure I give it my all. I want to take your head off and finish you. I’m not in there to point fight; I’m in there to finish fights.”
That should be all he needs.