A relatively unknown two-time UFC veteran, Anthony Perosh (10-5), has replaced Ben Rothwell who was originally slated to clash with MMA legend Mirko Cro-Cop (25-7) at UFC 110 in Sydney, Australia until an undisclosed injury forced Rothwell out of the bout.
The surprising news broke just Thursday, two days before the event, leaving match-maker Joe Silva scrambling to find an opponent for Cro-Cop, a huge fan favorite from back in the Pride days, who was looking to revitalize his lackluster UFC career.
To add to the series of obstacles surrounding this fight, it was earlier reported, around the same time as the Rothwell news, that the Croatian Sensation received a gash above the eye during training that could have also sidelined his Australian debut.
Luckily, remedies for both problems were found. Cro-Cop expressed his desires to fight regardless of the cut, which was approved by the athletic commission, and Joe Silva called on second degree black belt Brazilian Jiu Jitsu practitioner Anthony Perosh after Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and Randy “The Natural” Couture both turned down the opportunity to face Cro-Cop.
Perosh, an Australian of Croatian decent, originally declined the offer for personal reasons, but later decided that fighting a big name in a highly anticipated card in his current homeland was too big of an opportunity to turn down.
“I actually said ‘no’ (to replace Ben Rothwell) originally. I look up to Cro Cop and he’s a fellow Croatian. My parents are Croatian and I’ve actually been training the other Croatians appearing on this UFC 110 card,” Perosh said. He later went on to explain that the pros of fighting Cro-Cop outweighed the cons.
“I then went and watched yesterday’s (Thursday) press conference and listened to the comment Dana White made about how many fighters actually turn down opportunities. That just made me realize what a big chance this was,” explained Perosh. “How could I turn down the opportunity to fight on the main card at UFC 110 against one of the best guys in the world? Not only that, the fight takes place on the UFC’s first ever show in Australia.
I quickly called Joe Silva back and said, ‘yeah – I’ll do it’. There were just far too many positives than negatives as far as this opportunity was concerned.”
Stepping in the octagon on short notice is difficult for most fighters in general, but let alone against someone like Cro-Cop who exhibits multiple knockout tools—most notably his devastating high kicks.
Despite the uphill battle, Perosh makes no excuses going into his fight with the MMA legend; he just plans on making the most of an opportunity to get back into the octagon.
“I’m not looking to make any excuses after the fight, whatever happens. I won’t complain about not being fit or taking the fight on short notice,” Perosh rendered during the interview. “Luckily, I have a lot of experience in this sport. I’m just treating this as another match. He’s just another opponent for me. I’m not putting Cro Cop on any kind of pedestal for this fight. It’s no secret that I’m going to try and take him down, ground-and-pound him and then choke him out. I believe I have the ground skills to do this. I always hoped I’d be back and here is my chance.”