Ricky Simon wants a crack at former UFC bantamweight champion Petr Yan in 2023.
Riding a five-fight win streak and backed by an impressive 8-2 record inside the Octagon (20-3 overall), Simon is looking to make a big jump from his No. 10 spot in the bantamweight rankings. With his sights set on No. 2 ranked contender Petr Yan, Simon took to Instagram to call out Yan for a potential meeting in the new year.
“@petr_yan I heard you decided not to retire. Let’s give the fans what they want! @danawhite @ufc @seanshelby @jasonkhouse @paniniamerica @iridiumsportsagency Like + Tag a friend to win a Petr Yan Panini card
Merry Christmas “
Ricky Simon is coming off a big win over Welsh prospect Jack Shore in July. Though it was his only appearance inside the Octagon in 2022, Simon scored three big wins in 2021, earning victories over Gaetano Pirrello, Brian Kelleher, and Raphael Assunção. While Simon has been thriving over the last two years, Yan has struggled to stay in the win column after a couple of questionable decisions and one poorly placed knee.
Petr Yan And His String of Bad Luck in Recent Years
Petr Yan’s woes began at UFC 259 where he found himself making history by becoming the first fighter to lose a UFC title by way of disqualification, relinquishing the title to Aljamain Sterling. Yan got back into the win column with a solid performance against Cory Sandhagen at UFC 267 seven months later. Earning an opportunity to recapture the bantamweight title, Yan would find himself on the wrong side of a closely contested split decision in his rematch with Sterling.
Things went from bad to worse as Yan was matched up with rising contender and colorful fan favorite Sean O’Malley at UFC 280 in October. Yan once again found himself on the wrong side of a split decision, though this one came with a heaping dose of controversy as the general consensus appeared to back Yan as the rightful winner.
That loss appeared to be the final straw for Yan who indicated in his UFC 280 post-fight interview that he no longer had an interest in competing for the UFC. According to Ricky Simon, it sounds like Yan has had a change of heart and is ready to make a return to the Octagon in 2023. If that is the case, is Yan vs. Simon the fight to make, or would you prefer to see Yan square off with different top-10 opponent?