UFC 141 - Junior Assuncao's Internet Prophecy

December 22, 2011
The Internet can be a funny little world sometimes.

For example, on Tuesday afternoon, a section of the Wikipedia entry for UFC featherweight Junior Assuncao read as follows:

"Assuncao faced Ross Pearson on December 30, 2011 at UFC 141. Assuncao dominated the first round with numerous takedowns and submission attempts, Pearson then clipped Assuncao with a right hand which sent Assuncao to the mat face-first and Pearson finished him with punches ending the fight at 2:12 of the 2nd round."

This is interesting for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the fact that the battle between Pearson and Assuncao doesn't take place until next Friday, LIVE on Spike during the FREE prelim show for UFC 141.

And, naturally, Assuncao doesn't share the unknown author's vision of how his fight against the former winner of The Ultimate Fighter is going to go.

"I have no comments about that," Assuncao said with a laugh when informed of the Wikipedia prophecy. "It's hard to predict the future.

"Assuncao has, however, found other aspects of the Web that can affect his future, as an exchange of words with Pearson over Twitter helped make his bout with "The Real Deal" a reality for next week's fight card at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.

Upon hearing that the TUF 9 winner was considering a drop from lightweight to 145 pounds, Assuncao wrote, "Let me give Ross Pearson a good welcome to the featherweight division." The Englishman responded, "You may just get what you wish for," and not long thereafter, it was announced that Assuncao and Pearson would meet at the UFC's last show of the year.

"It was kind of surprising," Assuncao said. "They offered me a guy with no name, and I wanted a top-eight guy. The only way to solidify myself in the featherweight division is going after the big dogs. So, when I saw that Ross made the cut, and he was successful at that, I said, 'The guy's got a name,' and he won the show, which is a huge deal. Getting this win is going to catapult me to the front of the line instead of taking easier fights.

"For a man whose last UFC run -a three-fight stint in 2006 and 2007- took place before the advent of Twitter, it's quite a change.

"Interesting, huh?" Assuncao said. "Twitter's a great way to communicate these days. I cancelled my Facebook account -I had all these messages, I couldn't keep up- so I was like, 'You know what? I'll do Twitter, and I'll only follow certain people, and people can get to me more directly from there.' It worked out well.

"It remains to be seen, however, how things will work out on December 30. After all, Pearson may be coming off a loss to another Brazilian -up-and-coming prospect Edson Barboza, who won a split decision off of Pearson at UFC 134 in Rio de Janeiro- but his dogged perseverance in that fight impressed, and he's undoubtedly going to be a tough out whenever he climbs into the Octagon, something that Assuncao is well aware of.

In the end, though, Assuncao plans on using the visibility of national television to show the MMA world that he's a different fighter than he was four years ago, as evidenced by his current seven-fight win streak, and that the sky's the limit for him in the UFC's featherweight division.

"I'm 30 years old now," Assuncao said, "so I'm a bit more mature now. My first run in the UFC, when I fought Kurt Pellegrino, I was 4-1 with no amateur fights. I didn't know how to fight, if that makes sense. I was just happy to be fighting in the UFC. This time, I'm in a different mindset. I want to be a champion. My mind is very strong."

Photo: Gary M. Prior/Zuffa LLC UFC/Getty Images