Our next summer series begins today as we begin our countdown of the 50 greatest professional athletes that attended Arizona State. We begin with No. 50, former UFC fighter and ASU wrestler Aaron Simpson.
There are few athletes that are as connected to the Arizona State Sun Devil community than former wrestler and MMA fighter Aaron Simpson. After finishing his prep wrestling career 142-1, Simpson walked on at Arizona State in 1994 and went on to collect 110 wins and become a two-time All-American. He also earned a scholarship.
Simpson came back to Tempe to coach the Sun Devils and helped guide the wrestling careers of future UFC stars Ryan Bader, Cain Velasquez and C.B. Dollaway.
As a professional fighter, Simpson began his career 5-0 before signing with the UFC. In 2009, he debuted with a first round TKO victory over Tim McKenzie and would go on to beat Ed Herman and Tom Lawlor before suffering his first defeat at the hands of Chris Leben in June of 2010.
After a second consecutive loss to Mark Munoz, Simpson went on a three-fight win streak in 2011, with victories over Mario Miranda, Brad Tavares and Eric Schafer. Following the victory over Schafter, Simpson lost a split decision to Ronny Markes and went on to finish his MMA career 1-3. His final fight was a TKO defeat to Josh Burkman in March of 2013.
In 2011, Simpson, along with Bader and Dollaway opened up Power MMA and Fitness in Gilbert, Ariz. The facility has quickly become one of the top MMA training facilities in the western United States. Simpson now coaches Bader and Dollaway as well as rising MMA contenders Myles Jury, Michael Chandler and Darion Caldwell.
Simpson has also been training former ASU defensive back Jordan Simone.
Simpson's time not only as a professional fighter but also an MMA coach secured his spot at No. 50 on our list, check back tomorrow to find who will be No. 49.