UFC 278’s Jay Perrin Talks Doubt, Difficulties Following Contender Series Letdown

Mario Bautista and Jay Perrin, UFC Vegas 48
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - FEBRUARY 18: (L-R) Mario Bautista and Jay Perrin face off during the UFC Fight Night weigh-in at UFC APEX on February 18, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

Just two fights after falling short on Contender Series, Jay Perrin found himself with a short notice UFC debut against tough prospect Mario Bautista. While that might seem like a relatively quick comeback, the two and a half year wait was not an easy one for Perrin. In fact, at first, Perrin dealt with quite a bit of doubt surrounding his MMA future.

“For a while, dude, it didn’t seem that way. For a while after the Contender Series, I felt like I was owed something. I learned that nobody owes we anything. What I think I deserve isn’t necessarily what I do,” Perrin said. “That was a big lesson that I was taught. You just keep trucking forward and when it’s your time, it’s your time.”

But before he could learn that lesson, he went through some mental health struggles. While it was a difficult time for Perrin, it helped him begin to take things as they come and focus at the task at hand.

“After that one, I got real sad. I got fat for a minute, and I had a lot of soul searching to do,” he shared candidly. “There was a time where that question was asked – when do you think you’re going to be in the UFC? I can’t predict that. I can only do what’s in front of me.”

Ultimately, his love for the sport helped him through it. He remembered that it was something that he loved and that he knew that he belonged. Then he got back to work.

“I just remembered that I loved to do this. Obvious, the end goal is to be in the UFC and have a successful career, but I got back to ‘I love to do this’. I knew I belonged in the upper echelon of the sport,” Perrin said. “I just refocused into loving the sport again and just doing what I love every day. That helped the time go by better.”

Having gone through such a difficult path to get here, Perrin is now ready to put it all on the line to pick up that first UFC victory. That mentality is sure to produce an absolute banger.

“It might be the sleeper prelim of the card. Definitely pay attention to this fight because it’s going to be two guys who are trying to take each other’s heads off,” he said. “I’m going to come out of that cage with my shield or on it.”

Perrin will fight Qileng Aori on the ESPN+ prelims of UFC 278. That fight takes place this Saturday.

Listen to the entire audio below at 1:20.