Before Alex Perez returns to action for his 16th win for Tachi Palace Fights on February 2 in Lemoore, Calif., the red-hot flyweight prospect sat down with Pro MMA Now.

If someone told you when you were growing up that you’d someday be fighting for a living, would you have believed them?

I guess so (laughs). When I was growing up, I was small so I always had to prove myself. I wouldn’t say I got picked on, but people definitely overlooked me, that’s for sure.

Why MMA? Some people go their whole life without getting in a fight.

I had a wrestling background and I didn’t want to be one of those people who wished they had tried MMA when I was older. It took off from there.

How excited are you for this upcoming bout at Tachi Palace?

I’m excited, man. I’m pumped. This is what I love to do. I train every day — this is my 9-to-5 job. I’m excited to put in a show — this is the best part of my job, man.

Is there any better feeling than having your hand raised in victory?

I’ve lost and I’ve won. Winning is a lot better, obviously, but probably within a few hours of celebrating a victory, I’m thinking about what’s next, how I get to the next level. I don’t really take time to let it soak in; I’m always motivated to move up to the next level.

That being said, what are your goals for 2017?

Hopefully I make it to the big show, man. My goal is to make it to the UFC or Bellator and take the next step in my career. I’ve been doing this since I was 18 and I’ll be 25 in March. I’m young and I’m experienced with a lot of fights. I’m hoping to get to the big show soon.

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