Marlon Moraes came to the Ultimate Fighting Championship with a mixture of hype and doubts: Hype, being a former World Series of Fighting champion who defended the belt four times, and doubts because in the eyes of some, he had yet to face high-level competition.
His UFC debut didn’t go as planned, as he gave up a split decision loss to now third-ranked Raphael Assuncao. But he has since garnered two wins, decisioning former title challenger John Dodson and knocking out Aljamain Sterling in devastating fashion.
On June 1, he will step inside the octagon for the fourth time. Before the much awaited scrap against Jimmie Rivera, here are five things you might not know about Moraes.
Initially, he did not tell his father about his fighting ambitions.
Like any father who wants his son to follow his footsteps, Moraes's dad played soccer and wanted him to follow suit. It is perhaps for this reason why Moraes initially had to tell his father that what he does inside the gym were merely “demonstrations.” But now, he is happy of how proud his father is of him.
He considers Edgar a role model.
A training partner of Frankie Edgar, Moraes admires the former UFC lightweight champion. In fact, he considers Edgar a role model. Working with someone like him made the Brazilian realize how hard he has to push to make his mark in the sport. Thanks to all his teammates and coaches, Moraes now truly feels like a complete fighter who can mix up his abilities well.
The UFC once turned him down.
Moraes actually tried out for the first season of “The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil.” Then relatively unknown, Moraes was denied. He then went on to fight in the WSOF, where he raked in 11 wins in as many fights.
He earned his black belt in jiu-jitsu just recently.
This January, Moraes achieved a milestone in his martial arts career. After six years as a brown belt, he received his black belt from Ricardo Almeida.
One loss proved to be a turning point in his career.
Like many other fighters, Moraes doubted if he was really meant for mixed martial arts. The feeling of uncertainty came after a series of losses early in his career. After going 2-0 as a professional, Moraes won only once in his next four fights. Interestingly, it was another loss that got him to realize he made the right decision to keep fighting. He was doing very well against Deividas Taurosevicius until he made a mistake, costing him the fight. After the loss, he moved to 135 and went 13-0.