Just a few months ago, Ross Pearson was steadily rising up the lightweight rankings, thanks to a five run which included impressive wins over Ryan Couture and Gray Maynard (yes, it also included a split decision loss to Diego Sanchez, but even the biggest Sanchez boosters know he didn’t win that fight…).

In November, however, Pearson was taken out by the powerful Al Iaquinta, and the British fighter understandably isn’t happy about what unfolded. “The Real Deal” is booked to fight Sam Stout tonight at UFC 185, and while discussing the stoppage loss with UFC.com recently, here is some of what Pearson had to say:

“I’m not happy that I’m on the undercard, I’m not happy that I’m not on the Pay-Per-View event,” Pearson said. “I’ve gone from fighting a main event to four co-main events, and now after that loss, I’m on an undercard…This has driven me and given me fire to become the old Ross Pearson, the Ross Pearson that I used to be. I used to be aggressive, I used to be powerful, and that’s who I am now. I’ve re-lit the fire underneath my feet and I’m excited to go out there and put on the performances I know I can.”

“I’m not making excuses,” Pearson said. “Al Iaquinta did a great job and he beat the Ross Pearson that showed up that night. That wasn’t the Ross Pearson that’s right here, right now. Anyone could have beaten that Ross Pearson that night. I wasn’t there mentally, I wasn’t there physically. I’ve not even watched that fight back. I can’t even look at it…”

Wow. Clearly motivation isn’t going to be an issue for Pearson when he throws down with Stout tonight. Iaquinta is one of the lightweight division’s rising commodities, and is ridiculously heavy handed, but obviously Pearson doesn’t take any comfort in that.

Now, Pearson’s anger / frustration aside, one can understand why the promotion is using today’s scrap as a lead in to the PPV. The bout definitely has “Fight of the Night” potential, after all, Stout has already been involved in six FOTNs to date…

UFC 185 will be hosted by the American Airlines Center in Dallas.