Pearson talks Alliance MMA, Swanson match up
Ross Pearson's tenure in the UFC has been a successful one as he's racked up a 5-2 record inside the Octagon.
After winning "The Ultimate Fighter Season 9" at 155 lbs., Pearson claimed victories in three of his next five fights, but he felt as if he wasn't delivering his best product during two losses in the division.
That being said, Pearson opted to join UFC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz at Alliance MMA in California and shed 10 lbs. in order to join a talent-rich featherweight division; both decisions have proven to be career-changing prior to his fight this Friday night against Cub Swanson at "UFC on FX 4" at Revel Atlantic City in New Jersey.
"It's been a great move for me as an athlete and as an all-around professional martial artist," Pearson recently told Heavy.com. "With being a lot lighter now, I can do things with my body that I couldn't before at 55' (155 lbs.) with lifting too much weight for my size. Honestly, when I was fighting at 55' I was concerned about being a little bit too small, so I tried lifting weights and doing alot of strength training trying to get stronger and bigger. That just didn't work for my style of fighting too much, and I'm alot sharper now, I'm alot fitter, you know my whole game's improved so much now that I'm actually alot more leaner. Obviously, the cut down to 145 (pounds) isn't nice, but I made the weight fine and I feel strong and I feel confident. I feel like I'm one of the best guys in the division."
In order to stake claim as being one of the top featherweight's in the sport's premier organization, Pearson has to defeat the aforementioned Swanson, who provides a stern test and he's fully prepared for the task at hand.
"I see myself at the top of the division, I just have to go out there and prove it," Pearson said. "Not looking past Cub Swanson because he's a dangerous fighter, a good all-around fighter, and this is going to be a tough test. I just have to go out there, put on exciting fights, and prove that I am at the top of the division. I believe I'm at the top of the division and now I have to go out there and show it. There's alot of other guys in this division and I want to mix it up with the best best guys in the division to prove that I can be the best and hopefully keep improving and keep doing what I'm doing inside the cage and wait for the call from the UFC to fight whoever holds the belt.
"I'm just excited to keep performing and keep doing well. My body feels great right now, I have no injuries, I feel super healthy, and I've got alot of energy and alot of focus. I'm just looking forward to stepping it up and like I said before Cub is no joke, but I'm coming in there prepared and ready for a war. I'm fully conditioned, in great shape, my gameplan is ready, and I'm going to prove why I believe I'm at the top of the division putting on great performances and great fights."
In preparation for Swanson, the ever-improving Pearson was blessed with a new training partner in Bellator lightweight champion Michael Chandler, who he says has been a welcome addition to his camp and team.
"This has been an all-around great camp, but I'd say the most enjoyable part really was finding a new training partner," Pearson said. "Mike Chandler, the Bellator lightweight champion, is now training with Alliance full-time and I was pretty much his main training partner for his last fight against Gono. We sparred together for eight-weeks straight. I helped him get ready for his fight and right now he's helping me get ready for mine. He's just an amazing asset to the Alliance team and he's been a great training partner to me to realize where I'm at in the sport and to compete with someone who is a world champion everyday in the gym.
"So, that's been the most enjoyable thing about this camp, is that now we've got Mike Chandler on board and it's been a massive help for me getting me ready and also the team. He's a great guy in the gym and outside the gym. We train real well together and he knows where he needs to learn and I know where I need to learn. It's working out as a good team of training partners."
With Alliance MMA and their team of champions in San Diego playing home to Pearson's training, he feels the growth in his game has been amazing since his days at 155 lbs. and he's enjoyed every moment of the journey.
"It's massive, the move over here (United States) was inevitable for me," said Pearson. "I always wanted to do it and I just never found the time to do it. Since coming over to Alliance, it's been the biggest and the best decision I've made career wise. I'm a consummate professional, you know I'm training all the time, working all the time, and I'm surrounded by amazing athletes and great guys gifted in all areas. We got great jiu-jitsu guys, good wrestlers, good thai boxers, good boxers, we've got it all here in the gym, and I've got it all in one move. It's just been a great thing for me to do. I always wanted to do it, but like I said before it was just hard to find the time and get everything organized to do it. Now that I have done it, it's been the greatest thing I've done in me career and I'm looking forward to showing the growth in my game in my upcoming fight. Not only in just this fight, but 5, 10 fights down the line and constantly improving."
Check out our exclusive interview with "UFC on FX 4" headliner Gray Maynard