Moraes thankful for the opportunity to prove he's the best bantamweight
Marlon Moraes is the No. 1-ranked bantamweight contender in the UFC. The man he defeated in his last fight, Jose Aldo, went on to receive a shot at the division’s vacant title.
Moraes returns for the first time since that win to face American Cory Sandhagen in a UFC Fight Night Saturday main event on Fight Island, carrying no bitterness from being passed over for the title shot.
Catch UFC Fight Night: Moraes vs. Sandhagen Saturday at 6pm et/3pm pt. on TSN5 and TSN Direct.
"(Aldo) got the fight and I couldn’t do anything,” Moraes told TSN. “I’m not trash talking, I’m not going to keep saying stuff, talking about the other contenders. I’m happy, we’ve got a new champion, we’ve got challengers.”
"We’ve got (Aljamain) Sterling on a tear, doing amazing, looking great, we’ve got Sandhagen, too, we’ve got all these guys. New challengers, new fights. I’ve got the opportunity to fight him and he’s one of the best in my opinion. Let’s put two of the best of the division and see who is the best in this fight and see what’s going to happen next.”
Rather than continuing to harp on not getting the title shot, the 32-year-old plans to use this main event bout to once again showcase himself.
"I don’t want to cry anymore about anything, I have such a great opportunity to fight, I have a fight Saturday,” said Moraes. “This is what I need, I need a platform, I need an opportunity and I need an opponent and we got everything worked out, so let’s do it Saturday.”
Despite the fact that the 28-year-old Sandhagen is coming in off a first-round loss to a fighter Moraes knocked out, the Brazilian will not underestimate his opponent.
"He’s an awkward fighter, he’s good everywhere,” said Moraes. “His last fight was too fast, we can’t judge him on that, we have to judge him on the performances he put on before. He always brings it and he’s a tough guy to take away and I am prepared, I did all my camp thinking I’m fighting the best guy in the world. I’m taking it seriously and I’m ready.”
If Moraes is successful on Saturday, he does not plan to sit around waiting for that title shot, instead setting his sights on continuing to compete no matter who he is offered next.
"I lived that life for a long time,” said Moraes. “My goal right now in the UFC is to get in there, put the best performance I can ever do and move along. I don’t care who - I just want to keep active and keep fighting.”
Moraes respects the current champion, but believes he has the skills to beat him, when he finally does get him in the Octagon.
"Petr Yan is a great fighter I can’t deny,” said Moraes. “We have a great champion, but he’s not unbeatable and I have lot of tools and I can do things that a lot of guys cannot. I think I’m a threat for him and I know one day we are going to square off and I know I can beat that guy.”