Assuncao: 99-Percent Chance I’ll Fight Pearson at UFC 141

By Gleidson Venga Oct 31, 2011
Junior Assuncao thinks he will be the one to welcome “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 9 winner Ross Pearson to the UFC featherweight at the promotion’s year-end pay-per-view event.

The Brazilian fighter Monday told that he is nearly certain UFC officials will grant his wish for a fight with the Englishman at UFC 141, which takes place Dec. 30 at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.

“We haven’t signed yet, but I can say it’s a 99-percent chance that this fight will happen,” Assuncao told “I asked the UFC to face Pearson when I found out he was dropping to 145 pounds. He’s already telling everyone that he’ll fight me and I will welcome him.”

Assuncao, who returned to the Octagon in August after a four-year absence with a decision win over Eddie Yagin, explained that his desire to face Pearson stems from an old encounter between the two.

“I was with a student at a Florida-based event a while ago and [Pearson] started staring at me and didn’t stop. Thiago Tavares was beside me and told me to ask him if he was hungry and needed a sandwich,” revealed Assuncao. “Then, when I was with my brother, Raphael, at [UFC 134], he started staring at me again. When I noticed that he was dropping to my division, I immediately wanted to smash him.”

Although the contract is not yet signed, Assuncao is already busy training for Pearson. The Atlanta-based 30-year-old will relocate to Colorado Springs, Colo., for his camp in order to sharpen his wrestling at the U.S. Olympic Training Center.

“I was talking to Rafael Cordeiro about training at Kings MMA, but it didn’t work out for some financial reasons,” said Assuncao. “I spent some days at the Olympic Training Center before the Yagin fight and I liked training with Olympic-level wrestlers. They took me down all the time. Wrestling is, nowadays, the path to winning a fight. If you know how to combine wrestling and aggressiveness, you will win.”

Unbeaten in seven bouts since 2008, Assuncao believes that he now knows what motivated the UFC to cut him, as well as what made the promotion call him back.

“I was so immature,” he affirmed. “I just wanted to play, and now I’m a professional fighter. The UFC noticed it and trusted on me. Now, I want to get to the highest level I can. My wish is that I can easily defeat Pearson at UFC 141, win another fight by May, then end 2012 with a fourth victory under the UFC banner and challenge for the championship.”

Colin Foster contributed to this report.


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