Aaron Simpson Hoping For “More Recognition” With Win Over Mike Pierce, Believes “I Can Beat Anyone” in Welterweight Division
By Kelsey Mowatt
After Aaron Simpson decided to move to welterweight, he didn’t waste anytime jumping into the deep end of the division’s talent pool by agreeing to a bout with perennial contender Jon Fitch. Even after that fight fell apart due to Fitch being injured, and Simpson scored a decision win over replacement Kenny Robertson, the former middleweight openly campaigned for the fight to be rebooked. The UFC, however, had other plans.
“I am over it,” said Simpson, who is now scheduled to fight Mike Pierce on October 5th, while Fitch will take on Erick Silva at UFC 153 on October 13th. “Initially, I wanted that fight because Jon is one of the best in the world and I feel like my style matches his very well. But, now I am onto training for Mike Pierce.”
While Pierce doesn’t hold quite the same resume as the top ranked Fitch, the resilient veteran has gone 6-3 to date in the Octagon, and his only losses have come against Josh Koscheck, Johny Hendricks and the aforementioned Fitch. Although Pierce may not pop into most people’s minds when asked to name one of the promotion’s top welterweights, he is the same fighter who battled Koscheck and Hendricks to split decisions.
“I was happy,” said Simpson, while relaying his reaction to finding out that he would face the Sportslab fighter next. “He is a very worthy and game opponent. He will be fun to fight.”
Simpson surprised some observers earlier this year, when he announced his intention to drop down from middleweight. Although he was coming off a split decision loss to Ronny Markes, prior to the defeat the decorated wrestler had won three straight fights. Considering the UFC had planned to match Simpson up against Fitch initially, it will be interesting to see what’s ahead for the Arizona fighter, provided he can score his second win at welterweight on October 5th.
“I believe a win over Pierce brings more recognition for me at welterweight, but to say it moves me into the top five is a bit off,” Simpson added, when asked where he believes a win over Pierce might place him. “Although, I do believe that I can beat anyone in the division.”
In Pierce, Simpson will face a fellow, former NCAA Division 1 wrestler, whose grappling skills and grinding style has presented several notable fighters a considerable challenge.
“He has great skills,” the 38 year-old, former All American wrestler acknowledged. “His ability to out position opponents and apply pressure is his greatest attribute. He also throws heavy punches, which is tough to deal with. Straight up wrestling, I am way better and more skilled, but MMA wrestling is different and he uses his skills very well.”
To prepare for the UFC on FX 5 bout, Simpson continues to hone his skills with the Phoenix based Power MMA squad, which continues to forge a reputation as one of the sport’s leading teams.
“Camp has been great,” said Simpson, who also relayed that he would like to fight one more time in 2012 if the opportunity presents itself. “I’ve been using Seth Baczynski, Ryan Bader, CB Dollaway, Jade Porter, Andre Maracaba and some ASU Wrestlers.”
And who does Simpson believe will win the upcoming bout between Fitch and Silva?
“I believe Fitch will be able to apply his gameplan and win this fight,” Simpson noted. “He has a style that is grinding and wearing on guys and if you are not used to that style, it will beat you bad.”
The UFC on FX 5 card will be hosted by the Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota and will be broadcast on FX.