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· On The Spot ~ Ross Pearson

· Article author: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Posted on 10/30 at 07:38 AM

As Ross ‘The Real Deal’ Pearson (10-3) prepares to step into the cage for his first fight as a full fledged member of the UFC roster at UFC 105 in Manchester, England, he took a break from sparring to speak with MMA Spot about his fight with Aaron Riley and his career. The most recent Ultimate Fighter knows he has the pressure of not only living up to the standards of a "TUF" champion, but also helping to carry the flag for England’s growing MMA presence.

This humble, yet ferocious, lightweight got his start in the professional ranks by dominating England's MMA scene until he received the call to audition for Spike TV's "The Ultimate Fighter" reality show. He would earn his way into the house by winning his audition in front of UFC President Dana White and Team U.K. coach-to-be Michael Bisping.

Once on the show and in the house, Ross had the opportunity to show the world his likable personality and the traits that would eventually take him to the finals of the tournament, defeating Richie Whitson (arm bar) and UFC veteran Jason Dent (unanimous decision). In the tournament, he faced off against friend and fellow U.K. teammate Andre Winner. After three grueling rounds, Pearson was awarded the decision and was crowned "The Ultimate Fighter: U.S. vs U.K." lightweight champion.

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How is training coming for your up coming fight at UFC 105?
      Training is going awesome. I’m training three days a week down at Rough House, and they are helping me out a lot in all areas of my game. When I’m home I’m at the Unity gym with my Muay Thai coach and Olympian Boxing gym for pads and sparing. I also have Barry Gibson at Grapple Fit who has me in the best shape of my life!

What are you expecting out of Aaron Riley?
      A very fast paced fight. A very exciting, tough fight.

Have you added anything to your game for this fight?
      I’ve done a 15 week camp. The first six weeks was power and explosion. So I think I’m much stronger, which helps me out a lot with my wrestling.

Have you done anything differently in preparation for this fight?
      Not really; it’s just been a little bit longer, so I’ve had more time to prepare properly.

What does it mean to be fighting at home for this fight?
      It’s awesome to fight at home. But to me, I just love competing, so wherever the UFC puts me to fight, I will be very happy.

What all has changed for you since winning "The Ultimate Fighter" and signing with UFC?
      My life has completely changed since winning TUF. A lot of people recognize me now in the street. Also my training is a lot more professional and I train much smarter.

What was it like living in the TUF house? Was there a bit of culture shock?
      No, not really. I really enjoyed it, it was a lot of fun. I got a bit home sick one night, but that was it really.

Tell us a funny story about your time in the house that we might not have seen on camera?
      We all went out for a jog one day before training, and Jeff
[Lawson] and Stapes [Martin Stapleton] decided to run it in their boxers, which was pretty funny at the time.

How did you get your start in combat sports? And later MMA?
      I’ve always done a martial art. I started in tae kwon do at 6, then moved into judo, from there to boxing. So, MMA was just a natural progression for me. I just enjoy competing and testing myself.

Who do you idolize in the sport? Is there anyone you try to model yourself after?
      Randy Couture is my hero; he is a legend. I can’t wait to meet him at UFC 105, that will be awesome to fight on the same bill as him.

How do you feel about training at different camps?
      I love it. I like getting out there training and learning from different fighters and coaches.

Now that you will be matched up with some of the best fighters in the world, has your approach to training/fighting changed any?
      Yes, a lot. I’m much more professional in how I train, and a lot more focused on my career.

Some past TUF winners appear to have been “eased” into the UFC ranks. Do you want to be thrown in against the best, or do feel that you’d like to take your time getting to the top?
      I think Aaron is a very tough first test for me. He has had a lot of fights with some tough fighters. I don’t want to be put in there and guided, I want to make my own path in the UFC and win all my fights. Whoever the UFC puts in front of me, I will be happy to fight.

Other than winning "The Ultimate Fighter," what would you say is your career highlight?
      Winning all of my British titles – Total Combat, Strike And Submit, and Ultimate Force titles.

MMA in the U.K. has boomed in the past year or so, do you see guys like yourself, Dan Hardy, Paul Daley, and Michael Bisping at the forefront of this progression?
      Yes, definitely. There are some very good fighters from the U.K. I think now that the UFC puts shows on in the U.K. fighters can see a way of making it to the big shows, so a lot more fighters are taking the sport more serious.

As an ambassador to high level MMA in the U.K., do you feel any additional pressure carrying that title?
      No, not really. I try and just take it on board and use the attention to improve. It also keeps me focused in training, knowing that people are watching me.

Who is the best U.K. fighter that Americans may not know about?
      Without question, "Judo" Jimmy Wallhead. 
(for info on Wallhead, click here)

How do you get away from the cage and the mats? What do you like to do in your down time?
      I chill out with friends, take the dog for long walks, and just generally get away from everything.

Do you have any people you would like to thank?
      I would like to thank everyone that has helped me in training for this fight. Rough House lads. Nick Hands, my thai boxing coach. Sean Casey, my boxing coach and Barry Gibson my strength and conditioning coach. Tokyo Five Jeans and Fight Mafia.


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