There are very few fighters in the short span since the inception of World Series of Fighting (WSOF), which is approaching three years running in Nov. 2015), who have multiple fights under its umbrella ... let alone multiple title defenses.
WSOF Bantamweight champion Marlon Moraes has had seven during that time, fighting on nearly one-third of all the mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion's cards.
Moraes had a lot on the line when he faced undefeated "Gentleman" Josh Hill, given that his previous opponent had missed weight and made it a non-title affair. On top of that, Moraes had a newborn son named Rafael for whom he had to provide.
Through it all, things continue to go well for Moraes, as his successful title defense in February makes him perfect (7-0) under WSOF's banner. He'll look to continue that trend this Saturday night (Aug. 1, 2015) when he collides with man who is also undefeated (7-0) -- albeit across multiple promotions -- Sheymon Moraes in the co-main event of WSOF 22, which will emanate from Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada..
MMAmania.com recently spoke with the reigning 135-pound champion about his upcoming title defense on a night where another famous Bantamweight defends her title, Ronda Rousey, at UFC 190.
"To mention my name as one of the best in the world (like Rousey) makes my day. I'm so happy, and this is what I want to be, I want to be recognized as one of the best. I want to go out there and show everybody that MMA is not always UFC, it's in the World Series of Fighting also, and we are good and we're gonna show it."
Moraes trains hard with a squad of renowned fighters like Frankie Edgar and Edson Barboza, so it wouldn't be hard to get to a world-class level if you're already good to begin with. That's among the many reasons Moraes was not surprised by Barboza's recent award-winning performance at UFC on FOX 16.
"Edson Barboza did great, he had a great performance you know. We were all expecting this, because he had been looking great (in) training. He just did what he was doing in training, kicking and punching people, and this is what happens. Paul Felder was very tough, everything Edson was throwing he was still coming."
Now the focus in camp is squarely on Moraes' title defense, which will air live on NBC Sports Network this Saturday night. And Marlon is not lacking confidence in his preparation or his cardio, having gone 25 minutes in two of his last three fights.
"We train every day and hard. We go hard. We know what all of us can get. I'm ready for anything. I'm training with the best wrestler, the best jiu-jitsu guy, the best strikers. I'm going out there to perform. There's no stepping back. I'm gonna go forward, and I'm ready to fight 25 minutes at a hard pace."
His opponent, Sheymon Moraes, is not someone to look past -- he's perfect so far in his career, with four of his seven wins coming via (technical_ knockout. Marlon's confidence is high, though, as he beat an undefeated fighter his last time out.
"I think his biggest challenge is fighting me! I think he's a great striker you know? He's a little unpredictable, (he) can do a lot of stuff, if a guy gives him the opening he can take them down - but I'm ready."
And while a lot of other elite bantamweights are looking at moving up in weight, Moraes is comfortable at 135 pounds. In fact, he doesn't feel the need to change much in his career going forward to compete in that class.
"I think a lot of guys cut a lot of weight, but I'm not one of those. I'm not the biggest guy, I'm not the smallest guy in the division, so I don't think it's going to make a big difference for me. Even if they cut the IV, I'm just gonna stay a little lower you know? And that's it for me."
Marlon Moraes has one more thing to say about this fight: The name Moraes stands for quality, whether it's the champion or the challenger.
"It's just a coincidence y'know, me and him have the Moraes (last) name. I guess having Moraes in the name it means you are good you know? A good fighter."
Fight fans can be assured one Moraes will walk away champion this weekend, even though company president Ray Sefo would say WSOF's Bantamweight title fight is more exciting and unpredictable than the one that will air around the same time on pay-per-view (PPV). Find out for yourself this Saturday night!
The complete audio of our interview is below and complete WSOF coverage resides right here at MMAmania.com.