Peri Cann was at a fork in the road in his life 11 months ago.
According to Cann, one path could have been similar to one his brother went down — a path that led him to getting into trouble with the law.
The other path for Cann was to find an outlet to take out the aggression that had built up over his brother’s situation and channel that in a positive way.
The path led him to Cobra Fight Club at 220 E. Florence Blvd., where Cann trained in Muay Thai fighting and recently won a welterweight title in Tucson.
“I had so much aggression built up that I had to do something positive,” Cann said. “I had to take it out instead of getting into trouble like a knucklehead would on the streets.”
Cann, 28, is originally from west Philadelphia but has been living in Arizona for the past 25 years and has made his home in Casa Grande.
He said his average day leads him to getting up at about 6 a.m. and heading to the Valley where he repairs appliances. Afterward, he makes the trek back down I-10 and into the gym to train for his next fight.
The path he chose has led to him living a healthier lifestyle.
“Once I gave it my first shot, I liked it because it helped me quit smoking and start trying to lead a more positive life,” Cann said. “Just doing stuff like that. It was a good transition. Not only did I find an outlet for that aggression, but I was able to choose healthier options in life.”
Cann’s trainer Armando Lucio said everyone has to run three and a half miles before coming into the gym.
He added Muay Thai is a rising sport in the state. It’s a sport that uses the art of the limbs where unlike MMA, fighters can’t be taken to the ground, and unlike boxing, it’s not just using your hands.
“In amateur MMA you can’t throw the elbows at all so a lot of guys like this because you can use the elbow, you can use the knee to the face,” Lucio said. “It wasn’t really that big because everyone likes boxing or MMA, but Muay Thai is coming in because you can’t take a guy to the ground and you can throw the elbow.”
Cann knows just how violent the sport can be. In his last fight, he broke a couple of ribs and as a result hasn’t been training. He hopes to have his next fight sometime in June.
“It’s a lot of action, and you can’t hug them,” Cann said of the difference between Muay Thai and boxing where fighters tend to stall by hugging. “If you hug someone in the ring you get a (knee) to the face. That’s why we don’t like boxing that much. Because if you hug, you are going to get dropped.”