Mario Bautista confident he can “put out” Ricky Simon at UFC Vegas 84 to send a “statement” to the bantamweight division

By Cole Shelton - January 11, 2024

Mario Bautista is excited to finally get his chance to fight a ranked opponent.

Mario Bautista

Bautista is coming off a decision win over Da’Mon Blackshear in August, in a fight where he was originally supposed to take on Cody Garbrandt, but the former bantamweight champion was forced out of the bout due to an injury. After the win over Blackshear, Bautista wanted a ranked opponent next, and he got his wish as he will take on Ricky Simon at UFC Vegas 84.

“That is exactly it, I thought finally, finally got a top-15 opponent, I’m on this winning streak right now, so I’m glad I got the opportunity and with the opportunity itself, I feel like in this camp it has brought the best out of me. Those are the challenges I’m looking for to continue to grow in this sport,” Bautista said on Just Scrap Radio on

When Bautista got the call to face Simon he was excited as he knows it is a tough test for him. He knows Simon is very well-rounded and durable, but is excited to prove he belongs in the rankings.

“Ricky is solid, there is a reason why he has been in the top 15 for a while now. He hasn’t won those big fights, like Urijah Faber and Song Yadong to move forward, but he still is solid and hanging out in the top 15. That is hard to do, especially at bantamweight which is a testament to his toughness,” Bautista said.

Although Mario Bautista knows Ricky Simon is a tough out for anyone in the bantamweight division, he does think he matches up well against him.

Bautista is confident he won’t just win this fight but can finish Simon to send a statement to the bantamweight division.

“I think I can match him with the wrestling, which is his strong suit. I’m going to try and pick it up on the feet because I believe that is where I excel better than him, a little more speed, and more combinations,” Bautista said. “That is where I’m going to look to make a difference in this fight… I’m going to be looking for that finish. Ricky is very tough, he’s going to be there for all three rounds, wrestling hard all three rounds. To really make a statement I will have to put him out, and I think I can do that with this one.”

If Bautista does finish Simon at UFC Vegas 84, he’s hopeful someone in the top 10 will be next as he looks to go on a title run in 2204.

“It moves me forward, especially if I finish Ricky, it’s a top-10 guy next. I’m not going to be his replacement, the guy that stays there in the top 15, I’m going to keep moving forward,” Bautista concluded.

This article appeared first on BJPENN.COM


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