It’s rare when a pair of siblings reach the highest level of mixed martial arts together. Nick and Nate Diaz. Antonio Rodrigo and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira. Frank and Ken Shamrock. And, most recently, Valentina and Antonina Shevchenko. Some of their legacies are already written, some are in the process, and some are just getting started. The Perry brothers of Battle Creek, MI, are looking to become the next siblings to reach the UFC.
Idris and Abasi Perry, 24, are currently amateur mixed martial artists fighting alongside one another on the Michigan regional circuit. Both last fought in October for new promotion Lights Out Championship, where Abasi improved to 2-0 while Idris climbed to 4-0. They have a long way to go to realize their UFC dreams, but the duo already had a long path to get to where they are now.
Born and raised in Battle Creek, the Perry twins are inseparable now. It wasn’t always that way, though. Abasi said that while growing up, people often tried to instigate tension between him and his brother. And sometimes it worked.
‘“One day you’re gonna fight,’ and shit like that,” Idris said people used to tell him and his brother. “When we were younger that would’ve maybe worked on us. We’ve fought enough with each other. That’s dirty shit, honestly, if somebody wanted us to fight.”
That’s a thing of the past, according to Abasi.
“Nobody can make us fight each other,” he said. “We don’t fight no more, we’re way too old for that.”
David Taylor, who the twins see as their second father, has seen their maturation process firsthand. He met the two around 2010 when they were on their high school’s wrestling team with his own son. Taylor would go to the practices and observe his son in action. Idris and Abasi were two of five kids Taylor invited back to his home after each wrestling practice to get two more hours of training in.
“We became a family,” Taylor, 43, said. “I don’t really understand how it happened other than wrestling brought us together. I love them like they’re my own flesh and blood, and I would give up my last living breath for those kids.”
Launch of MMA Careers
Even after their graduation, Taylor has continued to help the brothers with their MMA careers, which Idris launched in 2017 and Abasi starting in June. Taylor helps them break down fight tape and offers analysis, as well as preparing quality meals for them when they need to cut weight before a fight. He’s witnessed the two train together from their high school wrestling days to their present-day MMA careers.
“They’re hard on each other,” Taylor said. “They’re each other’s best friends but they’re also each other’s greatest adversaries. They don’t accept anything less than perfect from each other.”
In the Gym
The two are almost always training together, whether it’s at Taylor’s home or their gym, the Mushin Academy.
Ray White, a coach at the gym, has been training the twins for about three years. He said both Idris and Abasi have a Muay Thai striking base with some Filipino dirty boxing mixed in. They’ve also been working on Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu to complement their high school wrestling base. White said there are natural similarities between the duo’s styles, considering how often they train together, but has picked up on some key differences.
“Idris is probably a little more experimental,” White said. “Whereas Abasi, since he’s a little later coming to the competition side, he’s still in that stage where he’s forming his fundamentals. He’s focusing more on the basics of a good solid foundation.”
That’s in-line with how the brothers assess themselves. Idris, who fights at 155 lbs., refers to himself as a technician who likes to beat opponents with both his striking and wrestling. Two of his four victories have come via TKO, while the other two were by decision.
Abasi, on the other hand, calls his style unorthodox and unpredictable. He added that he built his style around his brother’s, as Idris was always a bit bigger and stronger than him.
“I always had to come out with some crazy, out of the book shit. I had to learn some crazy, flashy shit.
He competes at featherweight, a weight class down from Idris, and is considering a drop to bantamweight. His two victories are a pair of unanimous decisions.
Taylor said the two hold each other accountable when they practice, pointing out when one gets caught by a certain maneuver and how they can defend against it in the future.
Abasi said he and his brother have a “love-hate” relationship when it comes to training together.
“[Idris] will try to tell me something that I need to do, that I need to do this or that, but I tell him, ‘That’s not my style. That’s what you want me to be,’” Abasi said. “It’s kind of the same thing for him. Little petty stuff turns into big arguments. But I make him better and he makes me better. We fight to make each other better but we never agree on damn near anything. If we agree on something, it’ll most likely be 100 percent right.”
Idris shares the sentiment.
“We definitely criticize each other but only to better each other,” Idris said. “I never wanna see him lose and he never wants to see me lose.”
On a Journey to the UFC
Neither brother knows exactly when they want to make the leap to the professional ranks, where they’ll encounter tougher opponents, but both are shooting for the UFC. That’s why they aren’t rushing the transition; both want to feel that they’re ready to turn pro, as they feel they still have so much to learn.
White said they’ve been great students thus far, who come into practice when they’re supposed to and put in the extra work necessary to improve. He feels that could prove the difference between them being UFC champions versus contenders.
“These guys have a certain amount of natural talent,” White said. “Then they also have kind of what I say is the fighters’ mentality. You can tell they have the fight in them. I think they probably can make it up into the top 20 percent. From there, it’s probably a little too early to tell if you’ve got yourself a world champion or not. I definitely think they can go pro and have their time at it.”
There’s a long road ahead for Idris and Abasi, one that will likely include its fair share of tough love on the way to improvement. Though if the two stick together, like they have since the literal Day One, the Perry brothers could join the ranks of MMA sibling household names.