UFC warrior Ross Pearson has been handed a showdown with unbeaten Brazilian Edson Barboza – in Rio De Janeiro.
The Sunderland fighter got his big chance at stardom two years ago by making it into The Ultimate Fighter: United States vs United Kingdom.
The show gained millions of viewers around the world, Pearson beating fellow Brit Andre Winner to be crowned the lightweight champion and gain a contract with UFC – which has television contracts in 130 countries around the world.
That success and exposure has transformed the 26-year-old’s life and taken him into battle in, among other places, Las Vegas, Sydney and now Rio.
While he walks the streets of Wearside virtually unrecognised, Pearson, from Fence Houses, and his fellow fighters have bodyguards to ensure their wellbeing in the USA, where frenzied UFC fans clamour to meet the franchise’s stars at conventions.
Cage fighting first gained popularity in Brazil and the Rio UFC show on August 27 is sure to be a huge attraction.
UFC Dana White revealed today: “Verbal agreements are in place for a big match on August 27 in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. Unbeaten Brazilian Edson Barboza takes on Ultimate Fighter 9 winner Ross “The Real Deal” Pearson.”
Pearson admitted: “I am very excited to fight in Brazil. I’ve already fought in Las Vegas, Sydney and now I am fighting in Rio.
“Being a UFC fighter means you are one of the best in the world and you fight the best in the world all over the world each fight.
“It’s a great match for me against a guy who’s got a great reputation. Barboza likes to have a war and so do I, I think we can put on the fight of the night.”