Aaron Simpson has rebounded from a pair of losses in the UFC last year to win three straight fights and place himself back among the top middleweights in the world. As a former wrestling standout at Arizona State University, he believes that only a full-trained mat grappler holds the keys to defeating UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva.
“I started wrestling when I was four years old and I’m 37 now. I’ve got 33 years of wrestling. I haven’t competed the last several years in wrestling, but I still wrestle,” said Simpson, while appearing on Sherdog’s “Beatdown” radio show recently. “I still have developed (from) years and years of going to camps and spending my summers at training camps and going up to the Olympic Training Center and wrestling and being in a college environment where we have three-hour practices – the most grueling practices ever.”
Simpson, who lost to Chris Leben and Mark Munoz in 2010, has earned decision victories over Marion Miranda, Brad Tavares and Eric Schafer this year. He is 11-2, with six of his wins coming by way of knockout.
In talking more about Silva, Simpson believes fellow middleweight Chael Sonnen has the right background to get the job done against “The Spider.” But, if others feel they can train a short time in wrestling and defeat Silva, they are badly mistaken.
“I think it’s ridiculous. You’ve got to have a background like Chael Sonnen to do what Chael Sonnen did,” Simpson said. “Wrestling just doesn’t come to you in a couple of years. Guys like Josh Koscheck have that, guys like Chael have that. For someone to think…that’s the type of style they can (beat Silva with), they better have that background. They better have put the time in to think they can go in there and do that.”