Aaron Simpson Expects to “Get a Finish” Versus Kenny Robertson, Relays “I Want Jon Fitch”
By Kelsey Mowatt
As 2012 began, Aaron Simpson was armed with a three fight win streak and was working his way back to where he was just two years earlier: the upper echelon of the UFC middleweight division. After after incurring a split decision loss to rising middleweight Ronny Markes in February, however, Simpson decided that it was time to begin a new chapter in his career… as a welterweight.
“I have been fighting guys in the UFC that have 15 plus pounds on me in every fight,” Simpson told Full Contact Fighter recently. “After my last fight with Ronny Markes, I dropped him with a right hand and then was controlled throughout the rest of the fight. I could not do a whole lot to stop him from smothering me. I’ve been thinking about it for quite some time, and that fight really put it in my mind to make the drop. “
Now that Simpson is en route to his July 11th, welterweight debut against Kenny Robertson, the 37 year-old-fighter has apparently closed the book on his UFC tenure as a middleweight.
“The drop is going great,” said Simpson, who went 6-3 as a middleweight in the UFC. “Waking up 15 pounds over two weeks out and fully hydrated. I sought the advice of George Lockhart. George trains and works out of Alpharetta, GA with Brian Stann and has cut many UFC fighters. Most notably, Kenny Florian, with his drop to 145 pounds.”
Originally, Simpson’s first bout at 170 pounds was supposed to take place against Jon Fitch, but the perennial contender was forced to withdraw from the bout due to a knee injury.
“I was very disappointed when I received the news that Jon Fitch was out with an injury,” said Simpson about Fitch, who was knocked out by Johny Hendricks in December, to mark just his second loss in 16 UFC bouts.. “We asked for this fight. I want to fight the best and I believe that Jon is one of the best. He was coming off an unfortunate loss, so for me to be able to land that fight was perfect timing for my welterweight debut.”
Now Simpson (11-3) will take on the replacement Robertson (11-1), who after being stopped by Mike Pierce at UFC 126 last February, rebounded nicely in October by knocking out Lucio Linhares.
“I know that Kenny was a Division I wrestler who was kinda tough in the wrestling top position. He is a gamer. Only one loss, so he knows how to win,” Simpson noted about Robertson, who relayed to Full Contact Fighter last month that his manager had approached the UFC about replacing the injured Fitch. “He is tough. In my opinion, if you have wrestled at a high level and gone through what college wrestlers have to go through, to me, good, you are tough. He has good stand up; he has good submissions. I am preparing for everything.”
“I am very confident that I can control the fight,” the former, two time NCAA All American wrestler and USA National Team member added while discussing the wrestling component to the bout. “Where he has excelled as a wrestler, I have gone further. That will be important in this fight.”
Simpson continues to train out of Power MMA in Gilbert, Arizona, which, due to the accomplishments of its fighters and coaching staff, has quickly become one of the United State’s leading facilities. More recently, the gym added FIT NHB coach and founder, Tom Vaughn, to help take the team to the next level.
“Power MMA and Fitness and Team Power has been a dream come true,” said Simpson. “Ryan Bader, CB Dollaway and myself are business partners, teammates and friends. There is nothing that I’d rather be doing. Coach Tom Vaughn was the missing link in this entire thing. We needed him to bring his vast knowledge of MMA and organize, game plan and prepare us for war. He is the best in all MMA, in my opinion.”
Although Simpson credited Robertson for his abilities, the veteran acknowledged that the younger fighter does not carry the same profile as the highly regarded Fitch. That said, as Robertson relayed to FCF last month, Simpson will be the consensus favorite.
“I expect to go in there and get a finish,” “A-Train” noted. “Don’t care how long it takes.”
And when asked if he is still interested in fighting his original scheduled opponent later this year, Simpson responded:
“Yes, I want Jon Fitch!”