Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC
The former 135-pound title contender has been stopped by Cory Sandhagen, Rob Font, and Merab Dvalishvili since his split decision win over Jose Aldo in 2019, and the slump has left Moraes wondering if his job is on the line Saturday night at the UFC APEX.
“Before I came [to Thailand to train], I thought a lot about it,” Moraes said in a recent episode of MMA Fighting podcast Trocação Franca. “I thought, damn, my last chance, maybe. But since I got here, man, I started training and training, and I know it will be only the first, the first of many. I know it will be a great performance and we’ll start to work all over again. One step at a time. We’ll get this fight and we’ll get past it, and then we’ll think about the next one. I know I’m UFC worthy and I have the skills for it.”
Moraes declined to reveal how many bouts he has left on the UFC contract he signed prior to his title fight with Henry Cejudo in May 2019, but acknowledged that the number doesn’t mean anything in regards to his job security.
“In the UFC, your first fight could be your last, and your last fight could be your first, so you never know,” Moraes said. “It’s up to your performance. You have to go there and put on a show. Win or lose, you have to leave the crowd on their feet and be someone they like to watch. This is the spirit I have going into this [fight], to trade hands and impose my style inside the octagon and leave with the victory.
“I always play fair and I want to add to the company,” he continued. “They day I’m no longer adding, we’ll talk and do what’s best for everyone. I’m doing my best today. I’m training, I’m working really hard, and I can’t wait to show everybody where I am. I’m at these guys’ level. Let’s turn the switch and go for the top. The top is where we wanna get, and we’ll get there.”