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Ricky Simon explains recent callout of Sean O’Malley: ‘People want to see him tested’

Ricky Simon told MMA Fighting in March that he wasn’t going to call out Sean O’Malley because he didn’t believe he’d take the fight. After a vicious KO finish in the UFC’s final card of the year, Simon had a change of heart.

Simon picked up the biggest win of his career when he stopped Raphael Assuncao in the second round at UFC Vegas 43. The victory was Simon’s fourth straight and capped off a 3-0 2021 campaign. In his post-fight interview with Michael Bisping, Simon dropped O’Malley’s name stating that he hopes O’Malley can “get Dana White’s permission.”

“I thought a finish over a ranked guy would get him excited, or get the UFC excited to make that happen,” Simon told MMA Fighting. “I think that when I win by decisions — and I’ve got two finishes out of my three [wins] this year — so I don’t understand why people would say that I’m boring, or they don’t want to see that matchup. But I got a good finish and I think that fight is exciting for the fans.

“I get tagged about it all the time, I get asked about O’Malley all the time, and people want to see him tested against a wrestler, and I can strike, too. I think I’m a tough test for him and people want him to be tested.”

In the latest UFC rankings, Simon entered the top-15 at No. 13 after defeating the 12th ranked Assuncao. Normally, defeating the No. 12 ranked fighter would put you in that spot, but O’Malley ended up moving up a spot to 12.

Simon feels the comparison of resumes should certainly put him ahead of O’Malley in the rankings.

“I beat the No. 12 ranked guy in the world and they moved him to 12, I was cracking up when the rankings got released,” Simon said. “I was a little surprised. I know there’s a lot that kind of goes into it, but it just seemed that someone was messing with me at that point.”

O’Malley also went 3-0 in 2021 with finishes of Thomas Almeida, Kris Moutinho and Raulian Paiva. After Simon got a finish over an established veteran, it would only make sense in his mind for the UFC to book a fight between he and O’Malley.

While it may make sense, it still doesn’t leave Simon with a lot of confidence the promotion will go in that direction, which is fine considering the depth at 135 pounds.

“I don’t think there’s a very good chance,” Simon explained. “I [still] don’t think he wants to fight me. I said his name in the interview, said everything, and then he goes and tweets to [Adrian] Yanez. I think that was the answer, so I’m [probably] moving on. Maybe they want to push me against somebody in the top-10. There’s plenty of guys who need fights.

“There’s some guys that can be fun rematches, too. I have a close loss to No. 5 [Rob Font] and a win — whether it be controversial or not — over No. 6 [Merab Dvalishvili]. I feel like there’s a lot of fun fights to be made and I’m excited to see what the UFC comes at me with.”