UFC bantamweight prospect Jack Shore has revealed a timeline and potential opponents for his return to action later this year.
At UFC London earlier this month, Shore made his fifth walk to the Octagon. Having got past the challenges of Nohelin Hernandez, Aaron Phillips, Hunter Azure, and Liudvik Sholinian, the Welshman faced his toughest test to date in England’s capital in the form of Timur Valiev.
In a competitive preliminary-card clash, Shore passed the test with flying colors after an impressive display of will in a chaotic final round. With a unanimous decision victory, the 27-year-old extended his unbeaten professional record to 16-0.
But while many expected the Arbertillery native to find himself with a number next to his name come the following rankings update, that ultimately wasn’t to be. With the target remaining a place in the bantamweight top 15, Shore has looked ahead to how he can get there.
Shore Lays Out Plan
During an appearance on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani post-UFC London, Shore assessed what could be next for him as he looks to maintain his unblemished résumé in MMA’s premier promotion.
Targeting a June return to the cage, the 27-year-old named two names on the bottom half of the 135-pound ladder, Ricky Simón and Raphael Assunção, as potential opponents.
“There’s guys there, even, I think, Assunção and Ricky Simón are like, 15 and 14. One of those two would be a great fight,” said Shore. “I wanna fight again very soon. June would be perfect… If they’re not booked up or if they’re looking to fight, I’d love to get one of them two in June. That’d be ideal for me.
“I wanna start climbing those rankings. I’ve worked very hard to get to 16-0 and to get where I am. I’m not the brashest of personalities or a trash talker, I know. But I do feel like my skills do a lot of talking for me,” added Shore. “I think I’ve showed I’m capable of getting in there and mixing it up with some of the best in the world. So, either of those two would be great fight for me and a good one for the fans, as well.”
The #12-ranked Simón, a former LFA and Titan FC bantamweight champion, broke into the top 15 with an impressive second-round KO of Assunção at UFC Vegas 45 last December. The triumph extended his record to 19-3 and his active win streak to four. The 29-year-old’s only losses in the UFC came to top-five contender Rob Font and former title challenger Urijah Faber.
Assunção, meanwhile, has been on the opposite trajectory. The Brazilian, who boasts victories over TJ Dillashaw, Pedro Munhoz, and Aljamain Sterling, has been on a downward spiral since a 2018 win over Font. Four consecutive defeats have left him on the brink of exiting the rankings.
A matchup with either man would certainly give Shore the opportunity to break into the top 15 in a big way.
Who would you like to see Jack Shore fight next, Ricky Simón or Raphael Assunção?