LAS VEGAS – Tennessee lightweight Jonathan Pearce used to cut grass for a living. Now he plans on mowing down the opposition at the highest level of MMA after earning a contract with the UFC.
Pearce (9-3) finished his back-and-forth battle with Jacob Rosales via third-round TKO at Tuesday’s Dana White’s Contender Series 19 to earn his UFC deal, and he explained that his gamble on his fighting ability paid off.
“Before I came out here, I had a mowing company and I was actually pretty successful,” he explained backstage at the UFC’s Apex facility. “I made about $60,000 a year (but) I was just tired of cuttin’ grass and whoopin’ ass in East Tennessee. I wanted to go out there and see what the West Coast is all about. I sold my company, went out on a limb, and it’s starting to pay off.
“I spoke it into existence. Before I left I said, ‘Watch – six months. Give me six months, I’m going to make something happen,’ and I did. But this is just the start, this is just the first chapter. Finally I’m on a global platform where people can see all my hard work.”
Pearce’s all-action style was tailor-made for the Contender Series. Pushing forward and leaving every ounce of his effort in the octagon, the 27-year-old simply would not be denied as he recovered from a difficult start to finish Rosales in the third.
“I feel like I got in a fist fight, but I’m not satisfied with just tonight,” he explained. “There’s going to be many more from me, and if you like what you saw from me, give me a little bit more time and a full camp like this. I want to be world champ. I want to go out and set the bar for people.
“I think I went out there and put everything out there. He got me in that armbar and tore my arm a little bit, but I wasn’t going to stop. I was on a mission, a seek-and-destroy mission, and I wasn’t going to stop until I got that contract.
“I knew he was a tough guy, but I didn’t think he was going to take that much. But I knew once I got the finish, and I’d watched the other series, that I was going to get the contract after my performance tonight.
Pearce’s toughness in the contest will have been no surprise to those who read his incredible story heading into Tuesday night’s fight. And he recounted the tale as he explained how he had already fought back from adversity long before he set foot in the Contender Series cage, and how that experience proved to him that he truly is a fighter.
“When someone kicks your face in, rearranges your face, and you’re already a professional fighter with a knockout, and your mouth’s wired shut and they’re like, ‘You call yourself a fighter?’ Yeah. I call myself a fighter, because I keep coming back and I keep swinging,” he said.
“I got sucker-punched and I got assaulted. I woke up, and it wasn’t a good night for me, but I knew I was going to make it through it, and I knew that I was meant for more. Now it’s just starting to pay off.”
And with a UFC contract safely tucked into his back pocket, Pearce is looking forward to putting on more exciting fights, with the knowledge that his efforts will go a long way to improving his livelihood.
“My windows on my car don’t even roll up,” he admitted. “I’m ready to get this next fight and actually start getting paid and get that $50,000 bonus, or get those big fights where I can start making a living, because I can keep putting those performances out there if you can keep cashing the checks.”
And don’t expect Pearce to change his fighting style now he’s made it to the big show. He’s going to continue doing him, he said, and putting on displays of heart and commitment every time he steps into the octagon.
“I didn’t change anything about my game at all,” Pearce said. “That’s just how I fight every single time, and the bad part is there’s no off switch. I’m always like that. I’m always pouring myself into everything I do.
“This is just my ship that gets me here. It’s what’s inside. You can be more physically adequate, you can take steroids, you ain’t got that fire down in you and reach down in your balls and do what you’ve got to do when it becomes time. What can I say? Give me another fight and I’ll keep doing it.”
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Source: USA Today – MMA Junkie
Read the full article here: Jonathan Pearce on thrilling Contender Series win: 'That's just how I fight'