When Team U.K. coach Ross Pearson meets his Australian counterpart, George Sotiropoulos, at UFC on FX 6 in Australia on Dec. 15 (Dec. 14 in the U.S.), the 27-year-old expects his rival to struggle against his wrestling.
“The fight against George is definitely a ‘Striker vs Grappler' match,” Pearson recently told MMAWeekly.com in Sydney. “I feel that my biggest advantage is my wrestling.
“I think George will underestimate my wrestling and he will have a hell of a time trying to take it down. I have trained with some of the best wrestlers in the world at Alliance, and I think George will struggle to get the fight where he wants it and he will become frustrated.
“We flew out from LA (to begin filming TUF: The Smashes) and it's been the best adjustment in time I've had. Last time it took me a week to become accustomed, but I was fine within a day.”
Pearson said it was “surreal” seeing his U.K. team training in the TUF gym, as just three years ago it was him vying for a UFC contract.
“Our team has a high level of skills and they're very ready to fight,” commented Pearson. “They want to make a career for themselves. That was me three years ago. It just shows how far I've come. I'm honored to coach these guys.”
Over recent years, Pearson has always been one to drift between 145 and 155 pounds, but whether it be at featherweight or lightweight, where he previously won TUF, the U.K. fighter wants to fight at home and make a charge towards a title shot.
“It has put me in a position where I have to perform and prove myself. I can do the cut to 145 pounds, or I don't have to cut if I fight at 155 pounds,” Pearson said. “To me, weight doesn't mean anything. I just want big fights and to be at the top of my weight class; whatever it will be.
“I compete best when my back is against the wall and my true instinct as a fighter comes out.”
TUF Team Australia vs Team UK “The Smashes” premieres Wednesday, Sept. 19, on FX in Australia at 7:30 p.m. AEST. It will also be aired on ESPN UK at midnight (local time) on Wednesday, Sept. 19.
- George Sotiropoulos
- Ross Pearson