Aaron Riley will fight "The Ultimate Fighter" season nine winner Ross Pearson in Pearson's backyard at UFC 105 next Saturday. But Riley, a fighter with who has fought in 40 bouts, is ready for the crowd to be against him.
"It's kind of tough, but to me it's not that big a deal," Riley told Cagewriter. "A fight's a fight. He's definitely going to have crowd support. At the same time. I'm going to try to use the negative crowd energy and use it as a boost to drive me to excel. I'll take it, flip it and use it in another way."
Riley is one of the many fighters that trains with Greg Jackson in New Mexico. To prepare for next weekend, he worked with Joe Stevenson, who beat Spencer Fisher at UFC 104.
"The cool thing about [Jackson's] is that there are so many good guys to train with. I helped Joe Stevenson get ready for his fight. He was fighting a southpaw, and I was able to mimic that, and he's orthodox, which is the way my opponent fights."
Working with Jackson means that Riley will hear Jackson's interesting way of speaking to his fighters in the corner. Jackson is known to speak to fighters in calm, soothing tones, and asking them to repeat the directions Jackson has given, which is quite a contrast to the way many other cornermen coach their fighters. Riley sees that as an asset.
"It's very relaxing. It's very refreshing, compared to someone who is just screaming at you, saying what you did wrong, what you did right, and giving you too much information to take in all at once. Greg really has a good handle on that. I think that's a productive way to corner."
Along with Jackson's expertise, Riley will bring with him the experience of fighting for 12 years, despite his relative youth. Riley will turn 29 in December.
"[The experience] will help, in that I've been in the position before of being on someone's home turf and being the bad guy. I know that I can't overlook anyone. I'm looking to fight hard. It is his home turf, this is his first fight since winning the show, and he's looking to make a statement. I've got to bring my A-game and be prepared for that."