Anthony Perosh is living proof of the value of saying yes.
Perosh is by no means a big name or a potential champion. He's 3-4 in his first seven UFC fights and is coming off a seven-second knockout loss to Ryan Jimmo at UFC 149. He's 13-7 overall in mixed martial arts, but has never put together a four-fight winning streak.
Despite that, Perosh's bout on Saturday will put him four times the mean average and nearly double the average number of bouts for a UFC fighter. According to research by FightMetric, the average number of bouts for a fighter since UFC 1 is 4.23. But the mean average – meaning half of all fighters had more, and half had less – is just two.
That Perosh is four times the mean is almost fully thanks to saying yes to a bout against Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic in 2010 at UFC 110 in Sydney, Australia.
Two days before the UFC's first show in Australia, heavyweight Ben Rothwell was fighting the flu and it was determined he'd be unable to fight. The UFC reached out to Pat Barry, who was willing to take the bout, but he couldn't get there in time to be weighed in.
Perosh lives in Sydney, where he operates a mixed martial arts academy with his friend, Elvis Sinosic. Sinosic was supposed to fight Chris Haseman on that card and Perosh was helping Sinosic to train.
The UFC desperately wanted to keep Filipovic on the show, because he was a major name and a lot of fans had made the trip to see him fight.
As a result, the decision was made to offer the bout to Perosh, who had fought twice in the UFC previously, at UFC 61 and UFC 66, and had gone 0-2.
And he said no. Filipovic had come to Sydney early and had been training at Perosh's school. It just seemed odd to fight him given that.
"I said no, but I hung up the phone and I started thinking about it," Perosh said. "And I knew I wanted to fight, so I called [UFC matchmaker] Joe Silva back a half hour later, not even a half hour later, and said yes."
That fight didn't go well for Perosh. Filipovic opened a nasty cut on Perosh's forehead with an elbow and the ringside doctor stopped the fight before the third.
Perosh fell to 0-3 in the UFC and might never have been heard from the organization again. Except that Silva felt he owed Perosh for taking the Filipovic fight with essentially no notice and under extraordinarily difficult circumstances.
So Perosh might have become the first 0-3 fighter in UFC history to receive a four-fight contract extension.
And all of it came because of his willingness to accept a fight that common sense said he'd lose.
Perosh said he'd been in decent shape after training with Sinosic and Igor Pokrajac. And after mulling it over, he felt the smart move was to accept the fight. It has benefitted him greatly.
"When I thought about it, I realized I had nothing to lose [by accepting]," Perosh said. "I was back fighting in the UFC. The card was in Sydney and I'd grown up right around the corner from the stadium. I was a taxpayer and now would be fighting one of the top guys in the world who I'd followed the last 10 years myself.
"I just sort of came to this realization that I had nothing to lose and everything going for me. The only thing I focused on, I didn't want to lose badly, in the first 30 seconds or something. But it made a lot of sense for me to take the fight."
That's not to say Perosh's decision is always the best for every fighter. Sometimes, a fighter is offered a bout on short notice and the smart move is to turn it down.
Guys who are at or near the top of the division rarely have much to gain from taking a fight with only a few days notice against an opponent who is prepared and sharp.
But Perosh is an example of what can happen for those who do take a fight on a moment's notice. Had he not taken the Filipovic fight, the odds are pretty good he'd never have fought in the UFC again.
Now, he's got three wins and at least has a chance to become one of the rare fighters in UFC history with 10 or more fights. Getting that many bouts has allowed him to save money and keep active doing what he loves.
"Everybody has their own situation and has to make the decision that is right for them," Perosh said. "I did what I thought was best for me and I wound up coming out quite nicely, I'd say."
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