by FIGHT! contributor Thomas McCullough
Ross Pearson believes winning the The Ultimate Fighter has made him a marked man in the cage. “I feel like winning the show has put a real target above my head, but that’s all good to me as it makes me work harder and stay more focused on improving,” he said.
Pearson has came along way since working on building site as a bricklayer in England. “I’ve always dreamed of fighting in the UFC since I was a kid but I didn’t expect my career to go the way it has,” he said, “Not many people from were I live get to live out their dreams. I did always feel I would make it, but another side of me didn’t. Since I reached the UFC, it hasn’t changed me as a person, I’m still the same lad, but I’m definitely more serious towards my career.”
That seriousness carried through the length of Pearson’s training camp, which he spent with an all-star team of UK fighters such as Dan Hardy, Paul Daley and Dean Amasinger. “There is a lot of top UK fighters coming through the ranks now, with the TUF 9 series; I think people have seen that the British MMA scene is very strong and full of talent,” Pearson said. “Now that the UFC has put on big shows on here, fighters like myself from the UK can see there is a chance of reaching the top shows and they are taking MMA more seriously and not just a hobby.”
Pearson’s UFC 105 opponent is Aaron Riley, an MMA veteran with more than forty fights to his name and “The Real Deal” hopes to make his UFC mark in typical Brit-fighter fashion. “My message to Riley is don’t blink, as there is going to be fireworks,” Pearson said.