Aaron Simpson, top, wanted "Mayhem" before the fight was offered. | Photo: Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
After reading that Jason Miller would be making the move to the UFC, Aaron Simpson told a teammate that he would like to fight “Mayhem.” A couple of hours later, Simpson’s manager called.
“Hey,” the manager said, “this is what we’re offered: ‘Mayhem’ Miller.”
Simpson agreed, and the matchup is set for July 2 at UFC 132 in Las Vegas.
“He’s someone who obviously has a lot of fights and has fought a lot of big names. It’s perfect for me,” Simpson said during a recent “Savage Dog Show” interview on the Sherdog Radio Network. “It’s the perfect time for me to fight a big name on an unbelievable card.”
The 36-year-old Simpson bounced back from consecutive losses with a March win over Mario Miranda. He had been undefeated before dropping bouts to Chris Leben and Mark Munoz. Simpson is confident that he’s back on track now.
“I felt so great about my last fight,” he said. “Just my training and everything was right on, and my game plan was right on. I feel like I’m still in the upper echelon of fighters at middleweight and I can beat all of them.”
Robbie Lawler, one of Simpson’s teammates at Power MMA and Fitness, fought Miller in September 2006. “Mayhem” won via an arm-triangle choke late in the bout, but Lawler likes how Simpson matches up with his former foe. He told Simpson to definitely take the fight.
“I already know the game plan,” Simpson said. “I already know what I’m going to do and how it’s going to be done, how I’m getting my hand raised.”
Simpson sees Miller’s ground game as his greatest strength.
“He’ll take your back and he’ll choke you out,” he said. “You can’t give him an inch there. He’ll catch you in side chokes, whatever. At the same time, his standup’s not too bad either. He’s got some pretty good kicks. He comes at you. It’s not like he’s just out tiptoeing around. He’s a well-rounded mixed martial artist if there ever was one.”
However, Simpson pointed out that Miller’s wrestling “hurts him a little bit.” In contrast, wrestling is perhaps Simpson’s greatest asset. He has been ranked as the No. 2 freestyle wrestler at his weight in the U.S. and competed at the Olympic Trials.
Simpson also knows Miller’s training partners, though. He thinks Muhammed Lawal and Mark Munoz will help Miller’s wrestling and a back-and-forth battle is likely.
“We’ll scrap the entire 15 minutes,” Simpson said. “Fans are going to have to be excited about that. Anytime ‘Mayhem’ Miller fights, people get excited. I feel the same way about me. That’s the type of fighter I am. Fans know that I throw my hands and I don’t just try to lay there on somebody. It’s going to be a good one.”
Listen to the full interview (beginning at 2:02:52).