Mike Perry talks last-minute opponent change, eyes Robbie Lawler with a win

Mike Perry defeated Jake Ellenberger at UFC Fight Night Nashville last April by KO. Christopher Hanewinckel/USA TODAY Sports

It's still a good week for Mike Perry.

The UFC welterweight celebrates his birthday tomorrow, and he's still co-headlining UFC Fight Night on Saturday in Pittsburgh.

His hometown in Central Florida was affected by Hurricane Irma last weekend, but it wasn't devastated.

Really, the only negative has been Thiago Alves pulling out of their bout this weekend. The UFC found a replacement in Alex Reyes, which Perry (10-1) is grateful for. He is not, however, real happy with Alves.

"We can't give him any more of our time," Perry told ESPN.

Alves (22-11) also lives in Florida and stated on social media last week that he intended to ride out the storm in Coconut Creek before flying to Pittsburgh.

On Tuesday, Alves posted a photo that appeared to show him in an airport, accompanied by a caption that said he was on his way. Several hours later, however, he posted he was still there, suggesting there were travel complications.

Perry, 25, said the UFC offered to bring both he and Alves to Pittsburgh early -- and that he accepted -- so he has no sympathy for Alves' situation.

"He was mentally defeated already, because I was willing to do anything to be here," Perry said. "I heard his training camp didn't go well and his weight wasn't coming off. He knew a long time ago he wasn't coming, long before we did. And I think that's pathetic.

"There are a bunch of people from South Florida who made it up here. I'm from Central Florida. You can't use that as an excuse."

Perry is especially disappointed about the change in opponent, though, because he's been a longtime fan of Alves' style. He also said that the fight world is caught up in this weekend's boxing match between Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin in Las Vegas, but he felt fans were still excited about his and Alves' matchup as well.

Now he faces Reyes (13-2), a promotional newcomer who is riding a 13-fight win streak but competes at lightweight.

Perry believes he's offering Reyes an opportunity to break into the UFC by accepting this last-minute change in opponent. And after he wins on Saturday, he would like to see a highly ranked welterweight pay that forward and give him an opportunity to shake up the top of the division next.

"I'm giving someone an opportunity, so I want an opportunity," Perry said. "After this, I want to fight a top-10 guy.

"Robbie Lawler. That's who I want to fight. He's an ex-champion. I like his style. I want to fight somebody who wants to fight, not somebody who pulls out three days before."

And as far as that opportunity he's giving Reyes, Perry warned it might not be that great of one.

"What's he think? He's going to get this fight, try to exit safely and then get a shot in the UFC at 155 pounds?" Perry asked. "Maybe that'll work out for him. Or maybe I'll knock him out so bad he rethinks everything and never fights again."