Argentina’s Ailin Perez revitalized by move to MMA Masters before second UFC fight: ‘This is where I need to be’

MIAMI – Ailin Perez has made some major changes.

The Argentine UFC women’s bantamweight relocated across the Americas to set up shop at MMA Masters in preparation for her return this Saturday against Hailey Cowan at UFC Fight Night 220. Perez (7-2 MMA, 0-1 UFC) looks to get her first win in the octagon after she lost her promotional debut back in September in the UFC’s historic first event in France.

Perez, who lives in Argentina and has done most of her training there, is not ready to give up on her UFC dreams and is determined to make herself a staple in the company.

“I contact the trainers here, whom I had the pleasure of meeting in Paris, and they liked me, and I liked them a lot,” Perez told MMA Junkie in Spanish regarding her connection to MMA Masters. “Their work is well known here in the U.S., and I said, ‘OK, let’s try it out.’

“Fighting in the UFC gives me life, so let’s continue the path. The result (from the debut) won’t define me as a person, and the journey continues. It’s not going to end my career or frustrate me. If anything, it’s going to push me forward. So I went and tried it out, I got here in October, and I said, ‘It’s here. This is where I need to be.'”

MMA Masters is home of several UFC fighters such as Colby Covington, Nate Landwehr, Priscila Cachoeira, Miguel Baeza and Danny Chavez. It also helped launch Amanda Nunes’ career, who’s considered by many to be the greatest female fighter of all time.

Perez felt she needed a world-class gym in order to continue her MMA journey. Although very thankful for the work she’s done in Argentina and Brazil, Perez is happy she decided to go to MMA Masters.

“My evolution was improving week by week,” Perez said. “All the training partners have been very helpful. I obviously miss my son. My next goal is to be able to bring him. But nothing is impossible. I’m here, and I’m ready to put on a show on (Saturday).”

Ailin Perez at UFC Paris weigh-ins.

Perez believes she’s improved tremendously this training camp. Although she’s felt the growth in many areas, the 28-year-old believes the strategy and the way she approaches fights will be the biggest difference.

“If I had to define the change in words, the first word I’d use is strategy,” Perez said. ‘The second word that I would use would be family.

“The strategy when it comes to approaching a fight like, ‘OK, here we have a fighter, and here’s the other. How can we beat her using the tools that we have? Here are her weaknesses and her strengths.’ These are 5-minute rounds. People think that’s a lot, but it’s not. You close and open your eyes, and the fight is over. And as far as the family aspect, we’re all very united here. We’re all here to help each other. In that aspect, we’re all together. MMA Masters gave me that confidence that I can do it, that I can come back even stronger.”

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC Fight Night 220.

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie