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Dublin: 13 °C Sunday 22 September, 2019
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Four years after asking him for a photo as a fan, Stevie Ray defeated Ross Pearson at UFC Belfast

Work hard until your heroes become your rivals.

STEVIE RAY EARNED the most important result of his career on Saturday night, and a picture the Scottish lightweight has posted on social media illustrates just how big a win it was.

After stepping in on four weeks’ notice to replace the injured James Krause, Ray ground out a decision victory over Ross Pearson in the co-main event at UFC Fight Night 99 at the SSE Arena in Belfast.

Ross Pearson and Stevie Ray Ross Pearson and Stevie Ray at last week's UFC Fight Night 99 media day in Belfast. Source: Presseye/Brian Little/INPHO

It was Ray’s fourth win in the UFC since he was signed by the organisation last year, and it brought the 26-year-old lightweight’s professional record to 20-6. But this win was particularly special as it put in perspective just how much progress he has made.

A 32-year-old Englishman, Pearson made the first of his 22 appearances in the UFC’s octagon back in June 2009. At that point, Ray had yet to have his first fight. When Ray attended a UFC event in Nottingham in September 2012 as a fan, he bumped into Pearson in the crowd and made sure to grab a photo with him for the scrapbook.

15109393_1205234179538349_8189926754678527830_n (1) Source: https://www.facebook.com/StevenRayUFC

On the back of Saturday’s defeat of Pearson, Ray has shared the photo on Facebook. He said: “[It] sounds strange even saying this now but four years ago when I was fighting on small shows and still training at a smaller local club, I remember being half pissed getting a photo with Ross Pearson at UFC Nottingham.”

Ray, who succeeded Conor McGregor as the Cage Warriors lightweight champion in 2013, added: “Pleasure to step in with someone I have been a fan of and looked up to for [the] past few years. Thanks for the fight, Ross.”

Source: UFC - Ultimate Fighting Championship/YouTube

Ray was full value for the win, despite one of the three judges bizarrely scoring all three rounds to Pearson. The Scot is keen to return to action for the UFC’s show in London on 18 March.

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About the author:

Paul Dollery

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