Ricky Simon suffered his first loss inside the Octagon back in July at UFC Sacramento. There, the surging contender was knocked out by Urijah Faber in just 46 seconds.
For Simon, he says the loss is a learning experience and a small bump in the road en route to the top.
“Well I mean there were definitely reasons why I got caught. I did get caught early and was a little too excited in there. I was extremely confident, I felt great, I still feel great. But, yeah you know, I chime it to experience, but it was so much fun to fight a Hall of Famer in his hometown, that crowd was nuts,” Simon said to MMA News. “I definitely chalk it up to a learning experience. A little bump in the road but I know nine times out of 10 I beat Faber. I’m just going to keep doing what I do which is training my ass off. And, just show I belong here on Dec. 7 when I take out the number 10 guy in the world.”
Although Simon is no longer ranked, he is getting a top-10 opponent in Rob Font at UFC Washington. For the 27-year-old, he wasn’t surprised he got another ranked opponent as he believes the UFC knows he belongs in the rankings.
“Not really because I had called him out after I went in and put on a dominating performance on a top-15 guy over Rani Yahya in February,” he explained. “After that fight, we were trying to get someone ranked and I asked for that Rob Font fight. So, obviously I wasn’t going to turn down a Hall of Famer fight. I think the UFC knows where I belong and are confident in my abilities. Font needed an opponent and I have been asking for it, so it made sense.”
Yet, against Font, it will be a tough fight. The 32-year-old is coming off of a dominant win over Sergio Pettis and is extremely well-rounded. He has seven knockout wins and four submission wins.
The versatility is something Simon will have to worry about. But, he is confident he will get his hand raised at the end of it.
“Font is very well-rounded, he has submissions and knockouts and totally controlled Sergio in his last fight. But, I’m a different beast than Sergio Pettis,” Simon said. “I have better wrestling and I think that is what is going to dictate this fight as I’m going to be able to keep it where I want it. Rob’s great but I’m totally confident in my abilities as well, I think I’m going to get it done.”
Simon believes his pressure will be too much for Font.
“It is going to be interesting with the way he throws his straight punches and mixes up his striking. But, ultimately, I’m going to be able to dictate where the fight goes and put the pressure on him,” he said. “That is going to be the story of the night that there is too much pressure.”
In the end, for Ricky Simon, a win here puts him into the top-10 and he can start his way up the bantamweight rankings to an eventual title shot.
“It is hard to say with the rankings and how it goes. I did set a goal for myself this year to hit top-10,” Simon concluded. “With all that activity going on at bantamweight, Font has moved to 10, and it would put me right around there.”