The winners of previous seasons of The Ultimate Fighter have found mixed results over the years. Many have gone on to chase and in certain cases win UFC titles, while others fell into mediocrity.
While mediocrity in the UFC represents MMA greatness, some results simply did not live up to expectations.
On the other hand, of course, a few exceeded expectations. It amounts to what the fighter made or makes of the opportunity they earned by emerging with the hallowed six-figure contract and all that comes with it.
Ross Pearson is a TUF winner who has yet to see the end results he may desire, or that his fans expect of him. But he is without a doubt a work in progress that is consistently moving forward. Simply put, Pearson refuses to fall to the fate of mediocrity; his fate lies in a greater legacy than that.
He is making the most of the opportunity he fought so hard to earn.
His quest is reflected in the vast improvement he has made since his time in the TUF house, or even the TUF finale that showed him defeat Andre Winner to win season 9.
His forward progress has proven that he is a fighter destined for more than who he was on that day, or even who he is today.
Since his first time inside the Octagon, Pearson has been involved in two Fight Of The Night performances and showed great tenacity and improvement every time out. He has not won them all but has progressed before our very eyes.
Recently Ross Pearson has taken a couple of huge steps towards his ultimate goal of being the best fighter he can become. The first was shedding 10 pounds to become a UFC featherweight. For a kid who held his own at lightweight, the move to a lower weight class can only help him.
The second adjustment made was probably the hardest of all. The English born and raised athlete has spent his life and career across the pond so to speak. Yet his last two fight camps have been spent in sunny southern California in the lair of UFC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz.
Pearson has found a new piece to the puzzle that is his MMA career at Alliance MMA. Training under Eric Del Fierro, Pearson is finding a new life within his own fight game and diversifying his approach within the cage.
In his last two fights, MMA fans have seen a subtle yet obvious change in Pearson’s approach. He is still the scrappy Englishman he has always been, but his technique and diversity have broadened to make him a more capable athlete on fight night.
Eric Del Fierro sat down and spoke with Todd Jackson of Hurtsbad MMA recently about Pearson’s move to Alliance MMA, as well as the changes he sees in his new rising star.
Del Fierro first acknowledged the transition Pearson has made from Sunderland to San Diego. He told Hurtsbad MMA, “He's full time at Alliance MMA. He loves the California living and he's actually moving to live 100 percent now in San Diego. He has done his last two camps with us, for Edson Barboza and the last one with Junior Assuncao.”
Why would a fighter leave his home to travel halfway across the globe? What did Pearson find at Alliance that would inspire him to pack up and leave his homeland for a strange new land? Del Fierro explained his thoughts on what Pearson may have been missing which he has found with Alliance.
The Alliance coach explained, “I think a lot of the guys that come from overseas are lacking a little bit in their wrestling, their grappling, and their defensive wrestling as well. We have tried to focus on that. Ross is just a tough kid. He brings it every time, he loves to fight, and he loves to stay active.”
Del Fierro went on to say, “I think we're just giving him different looks, and different game plans which is getting him more confident in his fights. He's going in there and implementing game plans. He has done real well in his last two fights. I've been very happy with it.”
He is 1-1 in his last two fights. But results can vary depending on how one perceives them. To hear Del Fierro tell it, even in a loss, Pearson shined brightly. Anyone who has seen his last two bouts since joining Alliance MMA would have a hard time disagreeing.
Del Fierro told Jackson, “I think he did great against Edson Barboza in Brazil. The game plan worked perfect but that kid Edson is no joke, he's tough as nails and beat us by split decision.”
In a Fight of the Night performance like Pearson had with Edson Barboza, even a loss can become a victory. Eric Del Fierro understands that you win some and you lose some, but it’s how the fight is fought that tells the true story of where a fighter has been and more importantly, where he is headed.
Now looking to the future as a featherweight in the UFC, training out of Alliance MMA, where Ross Pearson is headed is a very compelling thought to kick around. Training at Alliance just 10 pounds north of one of the sport’s top pound-for-pound fighters, Dom Cruz, Pearson has the ingredients to continue his march towards becoming that fighter he wants to be.
With Pearson setting the table for himself as he has, and with the structure of championship talent and coaching, combined with the master game planning that emits from Alliance MMA, watching that future unfold will be exciting to watch moving forward.
Keep your eyes peeled for Season 9 TUF Winner Ross Pearson, fight fans. This guy has always had the core fire of a capable mixed martial artist. Now the edges are being honed and sharpened to a razor’s edge. It is only a matter of time before he slices through the featherweight division and challenges for his first UFC title.
This article originally featured at Hurtsbad MMA. Follow us on Twitter @HurtsBad