Ricky Simon: Living Outside of the Comfort Zone
After an unsatisfactory debut, Ricky Simon faced Montel Jackson (at short notice) back in August, but he again says he was not truly happy with his own performance. Despite having won both bouts and remaining unbeaten in the UFC, Simon hopes that it’ll be third time lucky in his own mind, and he’ll put on a display that he can be truly proud of this weekend, when he faces Rani Yahya at UFC234.
The major plus point for UFC234 is that Simon will be able to have a full camp preparing for the opponent that he will then go on to face - Jackson was a complete change of style from the previously made bout against Benito Lopez. When asked as to whether he ever hesitated when being offered the opponent change, he explained ‘I’m just used to it; it’s happened my whole career. It is tough as I like to game plan, focus on tendencies of opponents and see where I’d beat them, so when it’s a last minute switch it makes it tough but I’m confident in my abilities and I know how to fight at the end of the day’.
‘I still feel I have a lot to show and I’ll do that on Feb 9th’ Ricky said, when speaking about his upcoming bout with Yahya. Breaking down the matchup, he confidently explained ‘He’s so dangerous on the ground but I feel like that’s the only place he’s dangerous’, adding ‘I’m not too worried about him on the feet, I match up well because one of my best attributes is being able to dictate where the fight goes, I have the wrestling to stuff those takedowns and then box him up’.
This will mark Simon’s first bout outside of America and he couldn’t be more excited about it; ‘I’m so ecstatic to be travelling to Australia – that was a goal of mine. The first thing I told my manager in 2019 was that I really wanted to get on an overseas card, particularly in Australia – my manager Jason House and the UFC made that happen and I just couldn’t be more excited. It’s gonna be tough, it’s not gonna be easy to travel while you’re cutting weight but I’m looking forward to it nonetheless’ he said.
When asked if he liked to be pushed outside of his comfort zone (as some would see travelling to fight as falling within that bracket) he laughed, retorting ‘I feel like I live outside of the comfort zone, my job is being punched in the face’, before continuing ‘I’m comfortable with being uncomfortable at this point. The travelling is the best part of what we do, we get to see different cultures and I get to experience it with my coaches – we’re gonna stay a bit longer with my fiancé. It’s gonna be great, I’m gonna take that 15th spot and then enjoy myself.
The UFC brass decided to award Ricky with a new 4 fight deal before even setting foot in the octagon to face Yahya and he believes this is a sure-sign that they have faith in him going on to be a name in the division. He ended our interview by outlining his goals for 2019 – specifying ‘‘I’m gonna be ranked top 10 in the world and by the end of the year I really feel like I can be a contender for that belt’. It all starts this weekend, where he can claim that 15th spot and really make a statement to the other contenders above him.