After years of speculation and well-deserved hype, Ricky Simon has finally made his way onto the UFC roster. Those in the know have openly wondered when the UFC would snatch up Simon. While the wait was long, UFC officials seem to have plucked him from the prospect circuit at exactly the right time. After two incredibly dominant performances in championship fights for Legacy Fighting Alliance, Simon showed that there is only one place his talent belongs – inside the Octagon. While fight fans wait for the announcement of when he will make his debut, speculation about whom he will face has already begun. Let’s take a peek at a few scenarios that make sense for the UFC Bantamweight.
- Manny Bermudez
Bermudez is a player who has shown a lot of promise thanks to his strong submission game. He is currently 12-0 with nine of those wins coming by submission, including his UFC debut this past February. Bermudez has not faced any truly notable competition with the exception of Saul Almeida, a little known Brazilian prospect. His string of submission victories is likely not a concern for Simon who has spent the years following his lone defeat sharpening his submission defense with professor Fabiano Scherner. With Simon’s counter wrestling and improved striking, he should be able to dispatch Bermudez in quick fashion.
**Prediction – Simon by TKO round-1.
- Benito Lopez
Being a west coast based fighter, Lopez has traveled in the same circles as Simon and has even faced off against fighters who Simon knows personally. At 9-0, Lopez has yet to taste defeat but he has been slowed in his last two outings turning in a split decision and a unanimous decision respectively. He has a win over one of one Simon’s teammates and friends, Benny Vinson. Simon and Vinson were promoted to BJJ purple belt together just this week at Gracie Barra Portland and it was stand to reason that Simon would like to get that win back for his friend and their team. In addition to that personal flair, Lopez and Simon are both winners of fights on Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series on UFC Fight Pass. It would seem that these two are destined to fight and there is no time like the present.
**Prediction – Simon TKO round-3.
- Brett Johns
This is the fight that real fans of Ricky Simon want to see. Brett Johns is currently 15-0 and has won three straight in the UFC bantamweight division. His quick success has actually earned him the fourteen spot in the bantamweight rankings. The reason this fight makes sense is that it was one that was supposed to happen back in 2016 at Titan FC 37 but Johns pulled out at the last minute. At the time, he was criticized by some for ducking a wrestler the caliber of Simon. Clearly he found success without having to go up against the Washingtonian. Still, Johns has yet to face a wrestler the like of Simon and a matchup between the two would be very interesting.
**Prediction – Simon by Unanimous Decision
While all three of these fights make sense for Simon, the matchup that seems most likely is the one against Manny Bermudez. The other two matchups have more appeal long term as Simon, Lopez, and Johns have all been singled out as fighters with championship potential. In fact, there have been rumors that the UFC has long term plans for Simon, specifically. While the wait was long for Ricky Simon, his rise up the ranks has the potential to be rather swift.