Sean Pierson’s (11-5) journey to the UFC has been atypical, to say the least. The Toronto fighter almost became a police officer who did MMA as a hobby of sorts. But he decided to follow his heart and his passion and stick with the sport on a full time basis and put police work aside. Now, heading into Friday’s UFC welterweight tilt against Dong Hyun Kim (14-1-1) it’s clear he made the right decision.
It came down to what career path did I want to choose for right now. You know, I don’t want to say my hand was forced either way but there was no doubt in my mind that I was going to try and make a run in the UFC. To be honest, starting two careers at the same time is pretty difficult anyways. I just went with this path and you know I have no regrets.
Everyone says that they [police] should of taken me on, or maybe I should fight and be a cop at the same time, but what people don’t understand is that if I tried to do both I would be putting doubts in my own head about how much commitment I was giving the UFC. If I didn’t have the outcome I wanted, I would wonder what if I only trained harder and didn’t have to work another full time job. Instead I’m putting everything I can into fighting professionally and I’m loving life right now.
With UFC 140 in Toronto still a recent memory, there is a part of him that wishes he had been able to fight there as a hometown favorite. But Pierson remains focused and optimistic about being in “the fight capital of the world”, Las Vegas, for UFC 141.
We tried to get on the Toronto card but it just didn’t work out this time around. Fighting in front of your hometown is always amazing. You have all your friends who can come out and watch you and support you. The after party is fun. Sponsorships are easier to come by because you’re the local boy. I think fighting in Canada is always a great time, but I haven’t fought in the US very much and so I’m looking forward to finally fighting in Vegas. It’s the fight capital of the world and New Years in Vegas can’t be too bad.
He was in Toronto for fight week however, doing media and being an integral part of the Toronto Police Department and UFC’s anti-bullying campaign. The campaign saw fighters Pierson, Sam Stout, Mark Hominick and Matt Mitrione address the dangers of bullying to a large group of students at Toronto’s SkyDome. Pierson gave a heartfelt speech, and it’s clear the topic is meaningful to him.
Basically it was just us trying to bring to the forefront on how we can stop bullying and some of the side effects that come with that. Two of the biggest issues are #1 when you are bullying people you don’t know what the ramifications can be and #2 A lot of people are too afraid to step outside of the popular. A lot of kids just jump on board because they think it’s the cool thing to do. Being on your own and making your own statement is how you become you. We want people to be leaders rather than followers. What I feel is that when that conversation starts, I think it’s the starting point for anything. If we don’t talk about it to kids they won’t understand what is happening. I think once kids understand the ramifications and what bullying can do to someone they can help in stopping it. It’s not a problem that can be stopped in a short period of time but the more knowledge they have of it the more power they have over it.
First and foremost, Pierson is a family man. He speaks of his family and the time spent with them with an affection rarely heard coming out of the mouth of a fighter. It’s clear that his wife and child support him one hundred percent in his ambitions, even when it comes to keeping him honest about his diet during the Christmas Turkey season.
Lucky for me I have a great wife that knows what this sport takes. I have a son that is three so he doesn’t really truly understand what I do for a living. My wife is part of the team though. She helps me with my diet and things like that, so she is not isolated from what I do. Since she is part of my team she becomes more involved in what I’m eating. She’s a big help especially since my training has been over the holidays. I have to make 170lbs and be on this diet and that is not an easy thing to do especially with all the great food that will be passing my way over Christmas.
What I have done is got my weight down earlier than I normally would. So if I do have a cheat meal it won’t really affect my overall weight cut. I’m still going to find it difficult though because it really is not that easy to cheat a little bit. It’s like when you start seeing these feasts being put in front of you; do you not just want to eat all the stuffing? It’s not an easy task for me to say no to mash potatoes with gravy and butter. I’ll be okay though. I’m focused. I just wish the fight was right now so I could get all this tension released.
Pierson enters the fight as the underdog against Kim, who hadn’t lost in fifteen fights before being caught by Carlos Condit over the summer. Pierson takes the underdog label in stride and seems determined not to let it distract from his game plan.
I don’t care either way. To be honest, it’s almost like rankings. Most fighters don’t care. Don’t get me wrong it’s always nice to see your name up there because that means people are appreciating what you’re doing, but at the same time because someone is ranked above or below you really doesn’t mean anything. It’s two guys who are getting in there to fight and all of that other stuff is irrelevant at the time. It’s almost better to be the underdog because all the pressure is on him as the favorite. I’m just going to go out there and do what I do and I’m cool with that. All of that other stuff is totally irrelevant to me.
These gloves we wear are not very forgiving. I look at my boy Mark Hominick in his last fight. Nine times out of ten I take Hominick over the Korean Zombie but he got caught and Jung won that fight. Anything can happen.
Kim’s judo expertise has given fits to other UFC fighters, but Pierson is confident that he has figured out a way to mute the attack of the fighter known as the “Stun Gun”.
I like how Matt Brown fought him. I’m going to try and dictate my pace and put pressure on the Stun Gun at all times. I think what Kim does really well is Judo and great ground control, but he does a terrific job of setting the pace of a fight and I want to make sure that I can dictate how the fight goes. Hopefully the fireworks come and I get knock out of the night. I don’t really want fight of the night, I mean I’ll take it, but I want to sit him down.
While UFC 141’s under card is packed with exciting match-ups, most of the attention is focused on the heavyweight showdown between Brock Lesnar and Alistair Overeem. Pierson is looking forward to that fight as a fan, and surmises that the Dutch striker has the edge going in.
I think Overeem takes the fight. Brock doesn’t seem to like getting hit even though he claims otherwise. But if I had to put down a money bet, for some strange reason I think I would have to put some down on Lesnar. My heart wants Overeem to win because it would make the heavyweight division so much more interesting. Who wouldn’t want to see striker vs. striker in the Reem and Dos Santos for the title?
If Lesnar and Overeem aren’t careful, they could easily see their thunder stolen by the Canadian-Korean showdown earlier in the evening.
Follow Sean on twitter: @seanpierson