Marlon Moraes Ends Brief Retirement, Signs With PFL for 145-Pound Return

Once again, a fighter’s retirement came to an end just a few months after saying goodbye to the sport.

On Thursday night, ESPN announced that Marlon Moraes (23-10-1) has come out retirement to sign with the Professional Fighters League. The report mentioned, that per Moraes’ manager Ali Abdelaziz, the contract was not finalized but was expected to come together shortly. Minutes later, Moraes publicized his return to the organization, and he will be competing at 145 pounds when he does come back. There is no currently announced event or opponent for his first fight back, although PFL recently picked up fellow ex-Ultimate Fighting Championship vet Shane Burgos as well.

Moraes initially wrote a thorough retirement message in April, when he stated that he was going to hang up his gloves.

“I want to thank everyone – Sean Shelby, Dana White and the UFC for giving me so many opportunities,” Moraes wrote. “I want to thank my family, my coaches, my manager, everybody who has been around and been part of my career. I’m still gonna be around the sport helping young guys and helping my friends. I also want to say thank you to Mark Henry, Ricardo Almeida, Frankie Edgar and Anderson Franca.”

In his unretirement message, Moraes wrote the following:

”Guys I wanna announce I’m coming home where I started, I wanna thank the legend Ray Sefo & PFL get ready for some firework.”

Moraes made his name as the first World Series of Fighting bantamweight champion, a title he claimed at WSOF 9 in 2014 over Josh Rettinghouse. “Magic” defended that strap five times before departing the league for the UFC, and he still is tied with Justin Gaethje for the most consecutive defenses in organizational history.

In combined WSOF-PFL history, Moraes is currently tied for the fifth-most victories under its banner with 11, along with Natan Schulte. He is one of four fighters to ever fight for the promotion at least 10 times and never lose, sitting on a list with Gaethje, David Branch and Kayla Harrison. His seven finishes have him currently tied with the fourth-most of any to ever fight with either promotion, and Gaethje’s nine, Ray Cooper III’s 10 and Harrison’s 11 are the only three above him.

Moraes initially bid farewell to the sport after four straight knockout losses to Cory Sandhagen, Rob Font, Merab Dvalishvili and Yadong Song. While he maintained an undefeated record as a WSOF competitor, his UFC time was far more contentious. Although he did vie for the vacant bantamweight strap in 2019, Moraes ended his UFC run with a record of 5-6 – he does celebrate wins over former champs Jose Aldo and Aljamain Sterling, with the latter still a UFC champion at this time.
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