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UFC on ABC 3's Ricky Simon: I'm going to beat up Jack Shore to prove I'm a contender, not a prospect

Simon and Shore meet in a key bantamweight matchup at Saturday's UFC on ABC 3 event in Elmont, N.Y.

At Saturday's UFC on ABC 3 event in New York, Ricky Simon and Jack Shore meet in a key bantamweight clash.

Simon currently sits at No. 11 in the latest official UFC bantamweight rankings, with the undefeated Shore just behind at No. 14, so the winner will take a step forward in a talent-rich division.

Simon has respect for his opponent but says he's also familiar with fighting tough competition.

"Tough kid, 16-0," Simon told MMA Underground. "He's a very well-rounded kid. I'm excited because we have a similar grappling style against the cage, and I'm always excited to face those types and for them to feel my strength in those positions, but I think if you look at the strength of schedule, it's not very comparable. I think everyone he's fought in the UFC has been cut. This would be my 10th fight in the UFC. One guy's been cut in the UFC out of those guys that I fought. 

"I've fought some monsters, and I haven't had an easy road. My entire career has not been easy. I've been put to the test and I passed that test most times, you know? So I think he's a very tough kid, but if we're really comparing strength of schedule, it's not comparable."

Simon (19-3 MMA, 7-2 UFC) and Shore (16-0 MMA, 5-0 UFC) meet on the prelims of Saturday's event from UBS Arena in Elmont. That portion of the card airs on ESPN and streams on ESPN+ before the main card shifts over to ABC.

Simon had to accept fighting down in the rankings for the matchup but believes a convincing victory should still be enough to prove that he deserves to be considered among the bantamweight division's elite.

"You know, nobody wants to fight down (in the rankings), especially, you know, I just got back in," Simon said. "But you know, 16-0 kid, and if that's what they want me to do, then I don't shy away from a fight. If I have to beat this kid up to prove that I'm a contender, I'm not a prospect, then that's what I'm going to do."

Check out the full interview in the video above.