Mike Perry is a welterweight on the rise and he’s even got the UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley talking about him.

Woodley has defended his title three times in the last year and he’s currently awaiting another top contender to challenge him for his belt.

Speaking on the Fight Strength Podcast this week, the UFC champion joined hosts Phil Daru and Jason Burgos and explained that Perry is a man who he’s got his eye on and that he’d like to one day defend his title against him.

“The only guy that I respect who talks stuff about me is Mike Perry,” Woodley said. “Mike Perry pulled up on me, to my face and not only did he pull up on me, he came to a seminar that I was teaching and he took the seminar. He took the seminar, learned some stuff and he said, ‘Hey man, I’m coming for your belt man.’

“Those are the guys that I love facing across the Octagon, the ones that have some respect for martial arts. If you can pull up to me and tell me to my face that you’re coming for my belt, now I got you, now you got my respect. Those are the guys that I want to see come to the top.

“I would love to engage in a battle with him in the Octagon.”

Woodley said that he’s been impressed with Perry’s recent improvements and the he believes he’s starting to mix his aggression well with his technique. He then double downed on his desire to go toe-to-toe with him one day.

“He’s been respectful with it,” Woodley said. “I’m a straight guy to, so I’m like hey, if I look at the division, he’s probably the guy I respect the most in the division. He might not have the greatest ground and he may just be getting to the point where he’s refining his technique and his aggression and he’s being a little smarter with it.

“He’s using his elbows tactically now and not just to f*** you up.”

“If there’s anyone in the division that I kind of want to see rise to the top and who I want to share the Octagon with, it’s probably that dude.

“I just like real guys and he’s real.”

One man who doesn’t have Woodley’s respect is Colby Covington. Both train at American Top Team, but that hasn’t stopped Covington taking shots at Woodley over social media.

“I don’t even know who that guy is,” Woodley said jokingly. “I only focus on guys that are in contention and world class athletes. When I’m looking down my scope to snipe somebody I don’t see Colby Covington in the mix.”

Covington and Woodley have both recently spoken out about a time they recently ran into each other training at the ATT training centre in Coconut Creek. Suffice to say, both have very different recollections of the session and Woodley gave his version of events.

“It’s zero flattery, I’m just not bothered by it all,” Woodley said. “I’m out here fighting, I’m a world champion and the irony of it all, especially when I was at ATT, some many things that we said on Twitter, you know we call them Twitter fanboys, Phil will tell you that when he told me to stop my sprint, I continued my sprint all the way down to the end where Colby Covington was at. What he did was he stared at the mirror and he turned his back to me and he shadow boxed staring at the same point for the whole entire workout. He wouldn’t leave and he wouldn’t move until I’d finished my workout.

“I’m from the street man, if you got something to say, you say it to me.”

If you don’t say nothing to me and you say it online, then I don’t have respect for you. What I look at and what I realize is that while I’m doing my workout, I’m preparing to defend yet another title and this young man is shadow boxing underneath a picture of me with my belt. Rest assured I can deal with that, I just don’t get involved with it.”