Five bouts into his World Series of Fighting career, Marlon Moraes has proven himself to be one of the promotion’s premier fighters.
After making a big splash in his promotional debut by defeating former WEC champion Miguel Torres, Moraes continued to improve, culminating in his most recent win in March over Josh Rettinghouse to claim the WSOF 135-pound championship.
“My opponent showed a lot of heart and didn’t give up,” said Moraes of Rettinghouse. “I was trying and pushing. I could push a little bit more, it was the first time I went five rounds, but it was a good fight. Of course, I’m happy I won the fight and I’m just looking forward to getting better.”
The fight became known for Moraes’ constant punishment of Rettinghouse’s legs.
When asked if at any time he felt bad or thought about taking things easy on Rettinghouse, Moraes said, “No, it was going my way, but I was trying to finish all the time.”
As well as he’s been performing, Moraes feels he can always do better.
“My best performances are still to come,” he told MMAWeekly.com. “I’m young and I’m getting better every day. I think my best performance is still to come and it’s going to come.”
Originally Moraes (13-4-1) was to defend his WSOF bantamweight title against Josh Hill on Saturday night in Bethlehem, Penn., but an injury now sees the bout become a catch-weight fight with fellow standout Cody Bollinger (16-2).
“For me it doesn’t matter (that it is not a title defense),” said Moraes. “I’m the champion (at 135 pounds) but I’m going up because they asked me.
“I had no option. I want to fight. They offered me the fight at 140 pounds, and I said yes. I’m still the champion. Even going up to 140 pounds, I’ve got to go out there and perform and prove that I’m the champion.”
(Editor’s Note: The bout was changed to 147 pounds on the day of weigh-ins when Bollinger had trouble going below that mark.)
Moraes feels he’ll have to be ready for anything against Bollinger because of how well-rounded he is.
“(Bollinger) can fight anywhere; I can fight anywhere; so it’s going to be a war,” said Moraes. “I’m ready and I know he’s always ready also, so it’s going to be a war. I’m ready and can’t wait for this fight.
“I want to mix it up and be a complete fighter. Hopefully in the fight I can mix it up, fight everywhere and do well.”
Since joining the WSOF, Moraes has been nothing short of impressive. And even with a title in hand, he still strives to cement himself in the 135-pound weight class.
“I still have to prove that I’m working hard every day,” he said. “That’s my main motivation: improving and showing everybody that even though I’m not in the UFC, I’m one of the best bantamweights in the world.”