Have you changed your training at all for this fight?
Yes, I've moved my fight camp to the Alliance gym in San Diego. It's home to some great coaches and fighters including Dominic Cruz and Phil Davis. I still did a lot of strength work at GrappleFit in Sunderland before flying out and that gave me a great base for this camp. It's important that as my career develops I look around the world for new opponents, coaches and ideas.
You’re fighting against Edson Barboza, a local favourite. Do you feel like the crowd’s going to be against you in Rio?
Without doubt, the crowd will be very vocal and I expect to be booed. Brazil is the birthplace of MMA so the fans are very passionate. It will be like going into the lion's den, but I'm mentally prepared for it. I've been lucky enough to fight on home turf and it does give you a boost. Hopefully, I can win the crowd over by putting on a great performance but my main goal is to win the fight and that's all I'm thinking about.
Are you planning on doing any training or surfing in Brazil when the fight’s over?
I fly back to the UK on the Sunday after the fight so unfortunately not. I have had a long camp and I will be having a nice break - I go to Australia in a couple of weeks so I'll definitely get some surfing in there.
How do you feel about being the last Brit from your season of The Ultimate Fighter still in the UFC? Do you think the other guys will be back?
I hope so. The UFC is a tough promotion and just to survive in it you need to be world class. There are no easy fights and you constantly have to improve and evolve to keep up with the competition. The sport has been growing rapidly back home and we'll no doubt see younger talent emerging and being signed by the UFC.
Are there any unsigned British guys that you’d advise Dana White to bring on board?
My two team-mates Dean Amasinger and Jimmy Wallhead are two of the best domestic fighters. Jimmy is fighting Frank Trigg soon [at BAMMA 7 on 10th September] so a big win for him will move things in the right direction and Dean has just put on a dominant performance against [ex-UFC fighter] Ross Pointon so hopefully if he continues that way he'll get the call soon.
Ross Pearson is sponsored by MyProtein. For more interviews with and workouts from top UFC stars, subscribe to Men's Fitness.
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From 2008 to 2018, Joel worked for Men's Fitness, which predated, and then shared a website with, Coach. Though he spent years running the hills of Bath, he’s since ditched his trainers for a succession of Converse high-tops, since they’re better suited to his love of pulling vans, lifting cars, and hefting logs in a succession of strongman competitions.