Aaron Simpson – via UFC.com
Aaron Simpson fought Mike Pierce at UFC on FX 5 and looked the best he ever has in the UFC until he got caught with a big punch by Pierce that knocked him out. The loss was a big set back for the former middleweight who knows he has the skills to compete with the top fighters in the division. MMARecap caught up with him to talk about the loss, how many times he wants to fight next year, and how he thinks Jon Fitch is ducking him.
How’s things going today?
Thing’s are going good. Just dropping my kids off at school, starting the day off.
It’s been just over three weeks since your fight against Mike Pierce at UFC on FX 5. What are your thoughts on that fight?
I don’t remember it. I fought?
Yeah, it’s been… I’ve lost sleep over it the last couple weeks. It’s kind of been hard to take. I’ve never been knocked out. I’ve been wobbly in practice – you get hit a little bit – but I’ve never been knocked out cold in my entire life. So I actually came to a point where I’m thinking it can’t happen to me. For some reason I didn’t think it could happen to me. It happens in practice, I’ve done it to people in practice before and done it in fights. So you get a little bit of that, and then I felt so good in my fight, and I felt like I was dominating so much. Looking back at the fight I think I continued that second round as a continuation of the first round, and it wasn’t smart. I should have maybe approached it like I did the first round and kind of eased into it a little bit instead. You know, you’ve got some time to recuperate. I had him on the ropes there towards the end of that first round, and he had some time to recuperate. And he’s a tough dude; he’s not somebody you can easily put away. And I wobbled him, and I slammed him and had his back, and he still was able to fight. Not many people have dominated Mike Pierce like that, and I feel like I was on my way to really putting it on him and even in the second and possibly could have been finishing him in the second and who knows, into the third or whatever. But it’s hard to take, and I’m just gonna move forward.
Now everyone had you winning the first round, and you had Pierce very hurt. Some could say the fight could have been stopped. Did you think the fight was going to be stopped in that round?
I never know, but yeah, I thought that it could have been close. You just never know at what point a ref’s gonna jump in. You can look back at many fights that should have been stopped that never were and then some that were stopped. You never know, you just keep fighting and hopefully that happens or you drop him yourself or whatever. I can tell you the honest truth I feel like I’m peaking out right now, I’m at my best. I’ve trained with Carlos Condit, I’ve trained with Josh Koscheck, I know a lot of these welterweights from when I was a middleweight and fighting guys that were way bigger than me and holding my own at middleweight, and now at this weight class I feel like I can beat anybody in the world. What I did to Mike Pierce I can do to any of those guys. I just know that about myself. I have confidence at this weight class and in myself. I don’t know that there is one guy, from GSP to any of the welterweights, that could stop me from picking them up and taking them down and doing some damage to them. But it’s a matter of getting those opportunities now because now I’m down the ladder a little bit.
In watching you fights I have made the comment to my friends that you are a slow starter, but about a minute into the second round something clicks and you turn it on. This fight, you seemed to come out the gate with all cylinders firing. To what do you attribute the differences between your previous fights and this one? Do you think it has to do with being at welterweight now?
Yeah, well, it’s a different weight class. If you look at the guys I fought they’re all big. I mean Mark Munoz is 240 lbs right now, Eric Schafer was a 205 lb that cut down, Ronny Markes was a 205 that cut down. A lot of the guys Chris Leban is a big dude, and he makes that weight class. A lot of the guys that I was fighting at that weight class were 205s that were cutting it to 85, and I was 190 lbs cutting to 185. So it’s a difference now with everything, and it’s a difference in confidence and everything, and I felt that way at that weight class.
This was your second fight at welterweight. Was the cut easier this time versus the Kenny Robertson fight?
Yeah, well I just had more confidence in it. The first time making it you just don’t know how you’re going to feel, and in the fight I think I held back a little bit because I didn’t know if my body was going to fail me. I just didn’t know. I hadn’t been at that weight in forever. So, yeah, it was definitely easier, and it was easier in the fight knowing that I’ll have three rounds no problem, and I’m in tip top shape.
Is it safe to say you’re not fighting again before the end of this year?
Yeah. You never know. I’m back into training, I’ve just gotta be careful. I can’t get hit or anything. I’m not supposed to be sparring or anything. But I can grapple and wrestle and do everything else. So I’m back at it, and once that 60 days is up you never know what pops up, someone drops out or what, but we’ll see.
Let’s look ahead at the rest of this year and next. How many times do you want to fight by the end of 2013?
Once a month?
Exactly. In wrestling, we went through a national tournament in high school, and you’d wrestle fifteen matches over three days, so you get back to back. So having one is just kind of like almost a let down in a way. It would be nice to actually be able to get right back in there right after one, but I mean it’s kind of the nature of the sport I guess.
You’re the first fighter to say they want to fight twelve times in one year.
Is there anyone in particular in the welterweight division you want to fight?
I’ve always wanted to fight Jon Fitch and now I don’t know. With what he did at that last one and what happened to me, I don’t know that I could conceivably earn that fight or whatever, but yeah he’s definitely one. You know, any of those guys in that top ten division, top five, I would welcome.
How bummed were you when Fitch had to pull out of that match-up due to injury?
I was really bummed. I was cutting that weight to fight someone at that top caliber because I felt like that was where I should be and that I would beat him and move forward, but it is what it is. You never know. It’s crazy. I don’t think he wanted to fight. In fact, as soon as I won and I was healthy and we asking for him, now he wouldn’t take me, wouldn’t fight me. He went down and fought that kid in Brazil. So… We put it on the table, and he didn’t want it. When he originally signed it, it’s just kind of weird how it happened. And then the fact that he wouldn’t fight me after when he had a new shot … had the new ability to possibly fight somebody else.
Where can the fans find you at online?
Well I’ve got a website, simpsonmma.com, and I’m looking to have an iPhone app coming out here shortly. Of course, you can follow me on Twitter @aaronsimpson, and I’ve got a Facebook page and all that stuff, but Twitter’s probably the easiest way. Or you can come on down to Power MMA and Fitness in Arizona and see me there every day.
Any sponsors or people you want to thank?
Yeah the big one is just my manager Dave Martin and Randel Aleman at Mag LLC, Martin Advisory Group, they’ve been a big part of my career and just great friends, and I really wanna thank them more than anything. And all the guys at my gym at Power MMA and Fitness. You can kind of find that online. That’s kind of a big one for us. American Ethanol has also been on board with us, and Microtech, which is really a cool deal to be sponsored fighters with what they do, so I appreciate everything they do. Finally Virtustream.