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WSOF 18: Bantamweight champion Marlon Moraes fights for his four month old son ... and his pride

World Series of Fighting (WSOF) Bantamweight Champion Marlon Moraes talks with about his fight with Josh Hill on Feb. 12, 2015, and being a good father and provider to his son, Rafael.

Marlon Moraes defends his crown on February 12th.
Marlon Moraes defends his crown on February 12th.
World Series of Fighting

It has been long enough since Marlon Moraes lost a fight that he may have forgotten what it feels like -- a run of more than three years and counting -- a streak that includes becoming the inaugural World Series of Fighting (WSOF) bantamweight champion.

Moraes was scheduled to make his first title defense in Sept. 2014 against Josh Hill, but an injury forced the No. 1-ranked challenger out of the fight and Cody Bollinger stepped in for a non-title catchweight bout. It mattered little to Moraes, who went on to submit his opponent in the second round via rear-naked choke.

It all comes full circle at WSOF 18 next week (Feb. 12, 2015) at Edmonton Expo Centre in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, as a now-healthy and prepared Hill will challenge Moraes for his belt and his Top 10 ranking at bantamweight. Moraes spoke with about his upcoming main event bout, which will be televised live on NBC Sports.

"Nothing personal against Josh y'know, it's for me just another opponent. I'm looking forward to (going) out there and keep proving one of the best 135 in the world ... that's it."

Moraes had a life-changing event outside of the cage last September when his wife, Izabella, gave birth to their son Rafael. Moraes finds it difficult to be both fighter and father, but it's a challenge he's more than happy to take on.

"It's a little tough, being able to train, take care of the baby, help my wife. I appreciate all the help she's giving me now, but I'm trying to be there. I want to be a real father, I want to be there, I want to change the diaper. I'm doing everything y'know?"

MMA fighters rarely have their own fights alone to worry about, having numerous friends and teammates to help out as well. Moraes has worked heavily in the past with Frankie Edgar as a sparring partner and feels the No. 2-ranked Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) featherweight could jump into a world title match right now.

"I think he's the best out there at 145. I think it's just a matter of time for him to take the belt man. I think he matches up very well with Aldo or McGregor. Whoever's the champion, I think Frankie's going to take it."

Moraes is not shy about his own credentials, either. He's an intriguing mixture of humility and confidence -- as polite and friendly of a fighter as you could hope to talk to -- but also not afraid to proclaim himself the best bantamweight on the planet.

He even extended the invitation for champions in other organizations to face him.

"I think some guys in UFC is maybe gonna come man. The World Series (of Fighting) is one of the best sports to be fighting in the world. I guess some guys wanna fight here, and let's see here - maybe they (come) here and fight me, y'know?"

Although it may be unlikely for a fighter currently under Zuffa contract to take a bout outside the promotion, it's not unprecedented for a fighter to flow from one organization to the other and back again. Moraes isn't worried about it though -- he's only focused on proving that he's everything he says he is.

"I can promise you I'm gonna go out there, I'm gonna put on a show, and be the best Marlon that you guys ever watched. I'm feeling like I'm the number one in the world man. I'm in the best shape of my life, and I can't wait to fight and show everybody."

MMA Maniacs won't have to wait long to see it -- Moraes collides with Hill in the main event of WSOF 18 on Feb. 12, 2015, at Edmonton Expo Centre. In the meantime, check out the full audio of our interview with Moraes below.

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