Every Wednesday, The MMA Corner’s Duncan Price will bring a view of the MMA world from across the pond in England, covering well-known British fighters within the UFC and Strikeforce, and also looking at significant events put on by British promotions within the borders of the United Kingdom.

Pearson May Drop To Featherweight

Could Ross Pearson be aiming for a bout with Jose Aldo rather than Frankie Edgar? If recent reports are to be believed, then the Brit could complete a move to the featherweight division in the near future.

Pearson has made his name as a tenacious lightweight since winning series nine of The Ultimate Fighter. His current UFC record stands at a respectable 4-2, but a recent decision loss to Edson Barboza has made him consider other options.

The lightweight division is arguably one of the strongest in the UFC. The top of the division is overcrowded at the moment with the likes of Anthony Pettis, Ben Henderson, Clay Guida, Nate Diaz, Joe Lauzon, Gray Maynard, Donald Cerrone and Strikeforce champion Gilbert Melendez all ahead of him in the title mix.

Pearson is currently experimenting with a drop to 145 pounds, where he would surely be considered an immediate contender for the featherweight title, currently held by Aldo. Asked the reason for the drop in weight class, and as to how it was going, Pearson replied on his personal Twitter account:

“Small window of opportunity… want big fights.”

“The attempt at 145lbs is going good, started at 176lbs (80kg) and now I’m standing at 169lbs (76kg). Want to be at 164lbs (74kg) next week.”

When questioned as to whether the additional weight cut had affected his strength, Pearson responded:

“Not at all, still feel strong.”

Pearson is yet to officially confirm his move to featherweight and there is no specific opponent in the pipeline, but should the trials continue to be a success, it is likely he will complete the move in 2012.

Hatton on MMA

Ricky Hatton (Anna Gowthorpe/PA)

Former world champion boxer Ricky Hatton believes the sport can learn a lot from mixed martial arts, as he confessed that the atmosphere at an MMA event “sells.”

Hatton won 45 of his 47 career fights and held world titles at two different weights. He recently hung up his gloves to concentrate on running his own promotional company, Hatton Promotions.

Although he remains a strong advocate for the sport of boxing, Hatton does not deny his growing appreciation for MMA. In an interview with Fight Hub TV he added:

“Mixed martial arts wasn’t seen as too popular, but the more it’s getting bigger and bigger all the time and the more you look into it – first, I just thought it was people rolling about on the floor on top of each other.”

“As it gets more popular, you look into it a little bit more scientifically, and there is a lot more to it. It’s not just about standing there using your feet and your fists. It’s about getting your opponent on the floor and putting them in a certain move, which is a work of art in its own right.”

“The more I watch it, I have become much more of a fan. The more popular it gets, the more I’ll get into it. These are proper professional athletes now, and they work hard. They dedicate themselves at it.”

There has been a long-standing argument that boxing and MMA cause split loyalties for combat sport fans, but Hatton feels the two can run side by side in relative harmony:

“Boxing will always have its own audience. There is room for both sports. Boxing is one sport. Mixed martial arts is another one. Boxing can learn from mixed martial arts. They create an atmosphere with the ring entrances and the music and everything like that. You gotta put something out there that sells.”

It is nice to see some respect for the sport coming from the boxing community. Several notable pugilsts have expressed an interest in watching or even competing in MMA, including world champion David Haye.

UFC European or British Titles Coming Soon?

A topic that has been brought to my attention recently is the possibility of splitting down the weight divisions to take into account nationality, in order to divide the talent and diversify the UFC across the globe.

As an example, I am based here in the UK, but I have never been able to see a UFC fight within our borders which featured a British competitor and also truly meant something.

An idea that has been discussed is the introduction of a British or European title that could be contested on smaller scale cards such as the upcoming UFC 138. This would provide the likes of Ross Pearson, Dan Hardy, John Hathaway and several others something to aim for and work towards other than the world title. Of course, if they then chose to pursue the world championship they would need to vacate the lower-ranked belt in order to concentrate on the bigger prize.

It is already done in boxing, although arguably far too much, as there are British, European and Commonwealth titles, as well as the various different world titles.

The whole thing would rely on the UFC sticking with their intentions to hold smaller shows in international territories. The promotion would also need to retain a larger roster of talent within each individual country. However, this shouldn’t prove too much of an issue, especially if the UFC goes ahead with planned international editions of The Ultimate Fighter.

In the case of UFC 138, we already have a card predominantly made up of Brits, and we have many other talented fighters that compete in BAMMA, Cage Warriors, UCMMA and the like. For example, before Pascal Krauss got injured, his bout with John Hathaway could have been for the UFC European welterweight championship. It could add interest and motivation to a potentially exciting but otherwise fairly underwhelming bout.

I am not necessarily an advocate of this system, nor am I entirely against it. Think of the subject as food for thought next time you have a discussion with friends on the current status of British MMA.

Top Photo: Ross Pearson (Al Bello/Zuffa LLC)

This piece was authored by Duncan Price. Follow him on Twitter, @DuncMMA