LAS VEGAS – Ricky Simon finished 2021 with a 3-0 record for the year when he knocked out perennial contender Raphael Assuncao in perhaps the biggest win of his career to date.
Immediately after his UFC Fight Night 199 performance, Simon (19-3 MMA, 7-2 UFC) name-dropped Sean O’Malley (15-1 MMA, 7-1 UFC) as a potential next foe in his in-cage interview – pending his boss Dana White’s approval.
However, Simon made it clear at a post-fight news conference that he’s not trying to pressure anyone into taking a fight. Despite his history with O’Malley, Simon recognizes “The Suga Show” might have his own plans for his career.
“I’m not, like I said, trying to bully him into the fight,” Simon told reporters including MMA Junkie. “I know he has a plan and a vision for whatever he’s doing, you know? All I’m trying to do is move up the rankings and become the UFC’s bantamweight world champion.”
O’Malley is a hot commodity right now for the UFC. One of the most popular fighters on the roster, O’Malley brings a lot of eyeballs to each fight he partakes in. Perhaps Simon could capitalize on an opportunity like that, but it’s not the only option out there. There’s one additional name Simon would like to get a second crack at.
“If it’s not him, (I want to) punch up,” Simon said. “Someone in the top 10 will be great. I had a super close fight with Rob Font, as well, so maybe a rematch in the future. I feel like the bantamweight division is so stacked. There are so many options.”
Font (19-5 MMA, 9-4 UFC) beat Simon by unanimous decision at UFC on ESPN 7 in December 2019. Since then, Simon is 4-0 while Font is 3-1. Without a fight on the books, Font lost to former UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo in the UFC on ESPN 31 main event Dec. 4.