Marlon Moraes Wants To See More Title Fights In Bantamweight Division
UFC bantamweight contender Marlon Moraes has called for the belt to be defended more frequently. In a division full of top prospects, such as Petr Yan, Cory Sandhagen and Aljamain Sterling, ‘Magic’ believes that there’s too much inactivity.
Speaking to MMA Junkie, Moraes said that the UFC bantamweight title needs to be defended more often.
“Sterling is there; Sandhagen is there, too. [Jose] Aldo is in the division. Frankie is coming to 135 [pounds]. I see all the tough guys in the division. Pedro Munhoz is a tough guy, too. There’s so many good guys. I see eight tough fights in the 135-pound division. We’ve just got to get the ball going. We’ve got to get the title on the line more times.”
Moraes received his shot at UFC gold in June last year at UFC 238 but suffered a third round TKO loss to the current champion, Henry Cejudo. Hungry to regain his contender status, the Brazilian defeated his fellow countryman and former featherweight champion Jose Aldo, via a razor close split decision at UFC 245.
In a bizarre turn of events, it was Aldo who was given the next title shot against Cejudo at UFC 250. However, because of the coronavirus pandemic, ‘Triple C’ is now set to defend his title at UFC 249 against Dominick Cruz, who is coming off a three year lay off.
“To be honest with you, it bothered me less than seeing Aldo get a title shot because Dominick Cruz has a story in the division,” Moraes said. “Dominick Cruz won the belt, and he had so many problems with injuries. I’m a big fan of Dominick Cruz, too. I see him. I see the passion he has for the sport, and he just can’t get going. He just can’t stay healthy. He keeps getting hurt, and when you hear something like that, you can’t get mad, you know? I’m not mad at all, man.
“The guy deserves to fight. He’s one of the best ever to step into that octagon in the 135-pound division, and I heard Petr Yan couldn’t get a visa to fight. He was one of the options, too, so why not? Why not give it to Dominick Cruz? He’s such a big name. I think it’s good for the division to have him back, and hopefully he can stay healthy, but if he can’t stay healthy, man, give this guy one more opportunity. Let’s see what he can do.”
With the division moving slowly, Moraes was signed to fight Petr Yan at UFC Kazakhstan on June 13th. Although this now needs to be rescheduled and relocated.
“I don’t care,” Moraes said. “I’m going to fight him. That’s the fight that I signed for, and wherever they want to make it happen, I’m going to fly there.”
Undefeated since 2016, Yan, is a dynamic striker who’s riding on an impressive six fight winning streak since joining the promotion. His recent head kick finish of MMA legend Urijah Faber massively elevated his stock. With this in mind, Moraes says that he is not overlooking the 27 year old prospect.
“I think he’s a very good fighter,” Moraes said. “I think he’s one of the contenders right now in the UFC. Skill-wise, I think he’s good everywhere. He can fight everywhere, and he’s a good fight for me. It’s a fight that puts me back up there.
“I just had a fight. I fought for the title, I lost, and in my opinion, he should be next for the title. He didn’t get the title shot, and he needed an opponent, and I raised my hand. Let’s fight this guy. You know, you have to challenge yourself and fight with the best, and this is what I’m aiming to do. I think he’s one of the best out there. Nothing better to test yourself than guys of that caliber.”
If Moraes can beat Yan, then he will have a strong case to fight with the winner of Cejudo and Cruz.
“I’m fighting a tough guy, a good opponent, but I know how tough I am, how good I am,” Moraes said. “Let’s clash. Let’s show. He deserves it and I deserve it. Let’s see who’s going to get it.”
Do you think Marlon Moraes can dispatch of Petr Yan and earn another title shot?