One of the bantamweight division’s brightest young stars hails from the Pacific Northwest in Vancouver, Washington. For the 27-year old Ricky Simon, he’s ready to get back to doing what he does best; punching and kicking people for money.
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The 15-2 Simon entered the UFC in April 2018 as one of the hottest prospects in the world. And his still early tenure to this point has proven exactly why.
A former Legacy Fighting Alliance champion, Simon would win his first three fights in the Octagon all in exciting and impressive fashion. Unfortunately, his fourth Octagon appearance would see him suffer his second career defeat.
Simon would welcome back the legendary Urijah Faber from retirement in “The California Kid’s” hometown of Sacramento, California. Exchanging with the former World Extreme Cagefighting featherweight king early, Simon would ultimately be the one to go down.
“The plan was to be in his face,” Simon explained on the Drake’s Takes podcast in August. “I wouldn’t love doing this as much as I do if there wasn’t that f*cking knot in your stomach because you know that that can happen. You can go out and get a knockout or get knocked out in front of a sold-out arena. And that’s why I love the sport and that’s why I hate it.”
Now two and a half months removed from the loss and the generally extremely active Washingtonian is ready to get back at it.
Despite his last fight not being the longest of wars that you’ll ever see, damage can be accumulated in the world of MMA in less time than one might imagine. All it takes is one shot. And for Simon, he received a rather large hematoma on his shin around the time of the Faber fight. Which, he indeed confirmed was not a staph infection.
“No! That’s a rumor, Jake Smith spread that damn rumor and you’re helping him now,” Simon said with a laugh to The Body Lock. “I had this huge hematoma on my leg, like on the tibia. The tissue from the muscle separated, a bunch of blood clots got in there. I mean, it definitely looked like it was something crazy going on. So people believe that it was staph but it was not staph. You know, I got it drained and I was good. I was training within a couple days after that.”
Staph or not, the leg is all healed and ready to get back to dishing out damage to UFC bantamweights. Something that the American Top Team: Portland product has already begun unleashing upon his teammates.
“Oh yeah, I’m kicking people so hard, I was just kicking [Cris] ‘Sunshine’ [Lencioni] in the gym the other day,” Simon shared. “He’s getting ready for a big fight against a Glory [kickboxing] guy. So I was freaking throw some kicks out with that leg. So yeah, we’re all good. I’m waiting for a fight. I hung out with Sean Shelby in Mexico City. I was begging him for a fight. So hopefully we get something before the end of the year.”
When Simon took on Faber in July, he was ranked in the No. 15 spot in his 135-pound weight class. Just barely on the outside looking in at this point, a big rebound win could be just what he needs to get back onto the list of names with numbers beside them… especially if he beats one next.
Never one to sell himself short, Simon tweeted out his interest in welcoming former UFC lightweight champion and multiple time featherweight challenger, Frankie Edgar, to the ranks of 135. This came a few weeks after Edgar lost his third crack at the 145-pound title thus prompting a believed move down in weight.
It was an ambitious callout and a “Why not?” kind of move and crazier things have happened. But along with it, Simon wanted to get back in the Octagon in November.
“Talking to my manager and the UFC, [November] doesn’t sound like it’s an option,” Simon said. “But I didn’t think Urijah was an option at the time. They just hit you up and see if you’re interested, you know? I was kind of being asked to jump on the Singapore card. That doesn’t sound like that was gonna end up happening. I heard [Renan] Barao needed an opponent at 145 [pounds]. But that’s in Brazil. And I don’t know how strict the testing is in Brazil. So I don’t know. There’s always options. But man, I just want to fight soon. I told the UFC that, you know, just give me a fight. I’ll fight whoever.
“They were trying to tell me they’re booked up until like January. So unless something can happen… I asked for Rob Font. There’s some East Coast card coming up. And that is the end of November, December in Washington [DC]. I think Rob Font would be good. We’ve been trying to fight each other. He’s No. 11 in the world right now. He agreed to fight me after I beat Rani Yahya. So I mean, that’d be a perfect fight back, I think. He’s a ranked opponent. He hasn’t been a while but that would be a good one.”
For Simon, his last win came over Rani Yahya at UFC 234 via a dominant unanimous decision that saw him snap the BJJ blackbelt’s impressive three-fight winning streak of submissions.
In the case of Rob Font, a fight with Simon before the year’s end would be his first of 2019 as the last time we saw him was at UFC Milwaukie in December 2018. He would score a unanimous decision win of his own over the perennial top flyweight contender, Sergio Pettis.
Drake Riggs is an MMA writer based out of Brush Prairie, Washington, USA who specializes in feature pieces, the women's fight scene, lists, news coverage, and rankings. He has been a passionate fan of MMA ever since 2009. Drake has most notably written for BJPenn.com, FanSided, The Body Lock, South China Morning Post, MyMMANews, Cageside Press, Sherdog, The Scrap, and MMA Today. He has also written for and created video content for RT Sport. As for other sports, Drake is a longtime fan of the NFL's Green Bay Packers and Jacksonville Jaguars.You can follow him on Twitter and Instagram: @DrakeRiggs_ . Also check out all of his video content on YouTube at: "Drake Riggs" where he uploads fighter interviews, podshows, and various other types of content.