Jack Shore was 11-0 when he made his UFC debut in 2019. The former Cage Warriors bantamweight champion opened the UFC Copenhagen card with a “Performance of the Night” bonus-winning submission of Nohelin Hernandez. Shore hasn’t stopped winning. Today, the 27-year-old is 16-0, ranked No. 14 in the official UFC bantamweight rankings and heading into the biggest fight of his UFC career on the UFC Long Island fight card.
Shore didn’t crack the UFC rankings after the promotion updated them the week following his March win over Timur Valiev. The snub did not bother Shore.
“It is what it is,” he told Mirror Fighting when his name failed to appear in the UFC 135-pound top-15 the week after the UFC London card. “I would have liked to have been in the rankings and you don’t cry over spilt milk. With a performance like that Saturday, I think I’m in a spot where I’m going to be ending up fighting one of those guys next anyway.”
Shore cracked the bantamweight rankings in mid-April when Raphael Assuncao lost his No. 15 spot. Shore climbed to No, 14 in mid-May when Marlon Moraes was removed from the rankings following his retirement from MMA.
Not long after that, Shore got his wish to face a ranked opponent when the UFC booked him opposite Ricky Simon for the Long Island card.
Simon, who is the No. 13 ranked UFC 135-pounder, is on a four-fight winning streak. The 29-year-old is coming off a December win over knockout win over Assuncao.
Shore took a big step in his development in the Valiev fight. In his previous outing, the Welsh scrapper fought down to his level of competition, late replacement, Liudvik Sholinian. That was not the case against the more experienced and wily Valiev. He was aggressive in his offense in that contest and came close to getting a finish. Shore also showed some veteran composure during that scrap when Valiev worked a submission attempt in the third stanza.
UFC Long Island marks the first big test of Shore’s UFC career. He seems aware of that fact and prepared for the test Simon, who has been working his way up the rankings since he joined the UFC in 2018 after winning and defending the LFA bantamweight crown, will provide him.
“It’s all coming together slowly,” Shore told UFC.com ahead of UFC Long Island. “The opposition is getting better. My last fight, I think I showed a lot of people what I can do normally on the feet, but when I got deep a little bit and things weren’t always going my way, I showed I can make decisions and turn the fight around and sway the fight in my favor. I put myself in a spot where I’m ranked, and in position to fight a tough, ranked guy. The wheels are all turning, and hopefully we can keep the momentum going and keep the hype train going.”
The Shore vs. Simon matchup should launch the winner into a fight against a top-10 opponent before the end of 2022.