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Ricky Simon Wants To End 2019 On A High-Note

After his first loss since 2016, Ricky Simon knows he can still make noise in the bantamweight division in Washington D.C.

Ricky Simon knows that dealing with a loss in public is part of his gig as a professional prizefighter, but that doesn’t mean he was thrilled with having to answer endless questions in the immediate aftermath of his July loss to Urijah Faber.

Luckily, his wife Jade had the solution: a trip to Mexico that allowed the newlyweds to finally take the honeymoon the Faber fight postponed.

LAS VEGAS, NV - AUGUST 08:   Ricky Simon walks back to his corner after his bantamweight bout with Donavon Frelow during Dana White's Tuesday Night Contender Series at the TUF Gym on August 8, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Brandon Magnus/DWTNCS)

“A day after the fight we took off,” laughed Simon. “We had it planned, so we were going to jet out as soon as all that craziness was over.”

There was no sitting in a dark room with sunglasses on for a week to ponder his first loss since 2016, only a nice break from the fight game to recharge his batteries for the next chapter of his career.

“It was hard to sulk when I’m sitting on the beach with my new wife and still getting to enjoy the fruits of our labor,” he said. “Two years ago, none of this was possible for me and I couldn’t have dreamt it. So even though we didn’t get the outcome we wanted, I still made sure that I got to celebrate with the wifey.”

Once back home in Washington, Simon got to break down the fight with Faber and move on. There wasn’t much to take away from the first-round stoppage loss, mainly that it was a frustrating night for a fighter who was looking to use the comebacking UFC Hall of Famer as a stepping stone into the top 10.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 10: (L-R) Ricky Simon punches Rani Yahya of Brazil in their bantamweight bout during the UFC 234 at the Rod Laver Arena on February 10, 2019 in the Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty)
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 10: (L-R) Ricky Simon punches Rani Yahya of Brazil in their bantamweight bout during the UFC 234 at the Rod Laver Arena on February 10, 2019 in the Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty)

“Losses are tough,” Simon said. “We put so much into this and I had a vision on how that fight was gonna go, and I kept telling myself the entire training camp, ‘You’re gonna go out there and you’re gonna knock out Urijah Faber, you’re gonna be a household name, you’re gonna get the bonus.’ I was trying to speak it into existence, and when it doesn’t go that way, you gotta deal with it. But I didn’t really allow myself too much time to sulk. I chalked it up to we got some stuff to work on, I’m gonna keep getting better and I’ve got another opportunity to bounce back and prove I belong.”

On December 7, he will be in the nation’s capital to face off with fellow bantamweight standout Rob Font, and it’s a fight that Simon and his team have wanted for a while. That’s a good thing to start. Plus, it shows that the UFC hasn’t lost faith in Simon’s potential to make some more noise at 135 pounds.

“It’s definitely nice because after I beat Rani Yahya and cracked the top 15 in February, I was asking for this Font fight,” said Simon. “He had some fights that fell out and then I had the Urijah fight so it never happened, but I’m super pumped that it finally is. It’s a fight we’ve been wanting, and my goal is to make it into the top ten by this year and with a win over Rob Font December 7th, I’m gonna be right there.”

LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 04: (R-L) Ricky Simon kicks Montel Jackson in their bantamweight fight during the UFC 227 event inside Staples Center on August 4, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)
LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 04: (R-L) Ricky Simon kicks Montel Jackson in their bantamweight fight during the UFC 227 event inside Staples Center on August 4, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

Not many people are calling for a fight with the New England slugger, but fighting all comers has always been Simon’s M.O. So what was it about Font? It’s not really a style thing, it’s a number thing, as the 27-year-old is looking right at his opponent’s number 10 ranking.

“At the time we were looking at who had fights and who didn’t, and when you’re looking at the top 15 or even outside the top 15, there are so many killers at bantamweight, but I feel like this is a great matchup for me as well, especially with someone ranked so high.”

Simon speaks of killers in his weight class like it’s a good thing. He laughs.

“My goal is to be in the top ten this year and it’s awesome that there are so many killers around but, at the same time, you go on a two-fight losing streak, you gotta be worried about your job,” he said. “But we just want to fight the toughest guys and keep breaking through the rankings.”

And with a win on December 7, he can cap off 2019 with a 2-1 record, a wedding and a honeymoon to remember. Not a bad 12 months at all.

“It’s definitely been an exciting year,” he said. “I broke into the top 15, I got married to my best friend and I got to fight a Hall of Famer in his hometown. So it’s definitely been very exciting, to say the least. But we’re not done yet. My goal is to break the top ten this year and start making my climb towards the belt next year. We’re gonna end this year right on track.”