While he doesn't want to spend much time thinking about it until after Saturday, a win over Burkman would lead Simpson to a fight that could make him a significant name in the division, even if it's outside the UFC. The winner of the fight could be in line for a fight with Jon Fitch, whose surprising cut by UFC led him to signing with the WSOF, and debuting on June 14.
When Simpson decided to make the move to welterweight in UFC, his first scheduled opponent was to be Fitch, who ended up pulling out of the fight due to an injury.
While Simpson knew before his last fight what the score was with him needing a win, and knew about the roster trimming, the idea Fitch, who has been top-ten in the world for years, being cut, was a shock.
"It blew my mind," he said about the decision that shocked many at the time. "Jon's one of the best fighters in the world right now in the welterweight division. And all he's known is fighting for the UFC. He's got a 15-2 (actually 14-3-1 in UFC) record. He's an amazing fighter the way he attacks. It's surprising especially after the Erick Silva fight, fight of the night, super exciting. He had a rough one with Demian Maia, but Demian Maia can do that with almost anyone. I think it was a bad move on UFC's part. I don't think that was cool. I wish the best for Jon, because he deserves it."
But Simpson, who has power with six knockouts, and was a far higher level wrestler than Fitch as a college star at Arizona State in the late 90s and later an Olympic hopeful, thinks he matches up well with him.
"I'd beat Jon and I think he knows it," said Simpson. "I don't think he's going to get away with taking me down and doing what he does with a lot of people. It is what it is. I have to get this win over Josh Burkman before I can start really talking about Jon Fitch."
Burkman was on The Ultimate Fighter season two back in 2005 and went 5-5 in UFC competition before being cut in 2008. Since then, he's gone 6-1 with his only loss being a decision to Jordan Mein, one of the best young fighters in the weight class.
"I think he's pretty well rounded in how he can attack you," said Simpson. "His wrestling is pretty good. I think he's a pretty good athlete.
"I don't think I have to worry but I have to take into consideration that he'll fight me in every position. I plan to take him out early, but we'll see."