Crocked Pearson targets February return from surgery

ESPN staff
October 7, 2010
Ross Pearson lost to a rear naked choke from Cole Miller © Getty Images

Ross Pearson has told ESPN he is targeting a February return to action after confirming that he will go under the surgeon's knife next Thursday.

Pearson suffered a torn knee cartilage and chipped a bone in his knee in the early stages of his defeat to Cole Miller at UFN 22. The Sunderland-born fighter had previously been undefeated in his UFC career, but he found himself seriously injured from the second minute of his September 15 encounter, eventually losing to a second-round submission.

Pearson has attempted to keep his injury quiet, insisting Miller fully deserved his victory, but with news of his surgery confirmed he told ESPN that he wants to get back to action as soon as possible.

"I'm waiting to have an operation next week on my knee," confirmed the TUF 9 lightweight winner. "I tore my knee cartilage in the last fight, in the first round, and I'm booked in for next Thursday. I didn't instantly tell the UFC because I didn't want to look like I was using it as an excuse. But the scan and news of the operation was going to come out anyway.

"The surgeons are hoping it's going to be a straight-forward cleaning out of the cartilage, and hopefully that's all it will be. But I've also chipped a bone in my knee, so he's going to have to have a look at that and see how serious it is. I think I did that off one of my leg kicks, that's the only way I can assume I did it.

"Hopefully I'll be back soon. I'm still doing upper body workouts, and I'm in the gym doing rolling and things that don't damage the knee. Ideally I hope to be back before March or April; I'd love to be back in January or February. But that's totally up to the UFC."

Elaborating on the exact moment when the tear occurred, Pearson revealed he instantly knew his gameplan had been put in jeopardy. The Briton was eventually knocked down by a couple of big shots by Miller, and Pearson admits the American's range became a big issue.

"I can't pinpoint the exact time that the injury happened, but I think I did it when Cole pulled guard on me, and I kind of twisted at an awkward angle. Pretty much after that I had no movement, and I was just a sitting duck really. I'm not making any excuses or in any way attempting to take the win away from Cole, but I know for a fact I couldn't move in and out after I tore the cartilage.

"I think it happened around the two-minute mark, that's when I remember thinking 's***'. If you watch the fight, I begin up on my toes and I'm moving alright, but then Cole pulls guard and after that I'm flat-footed, square, and putting all my weight on my left leg - meaning I was walking onto his right hand.

"It didn't affect me in thinking 'oh man I can't fight on anymore'; the only thing it affected was the gameplan. I just couldn't do it. The gameplan was to step in and out of range, use my angles, and use my right leg kick to take away his lead leg before finishing it with my right hand. But I couldn't push off my leg to land anything."

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