Marlon Moraes has never been the kind of fighter to make demands about money but he’s absolutely putting his foot down when it comes to a title shot.
The former World Series of Fighting Champion has gone on an unbelievable tear through the bantamweight division in recent months with four straight wins including three first round stoppages against top 10 ranked opponents.
His latest win avenged the only loss of his UFC career when Moraes knocked down and then choked out Raphael Assuncao less than four minutes into the opening round.
With that kind of resume, Moraes knows he should be competing for the UFC bantamweight title next yet there still remains some uncertainty because the current champion TJ Dillashaw is coming off a 32-second TKO loss to flyweight king Henry Cejudo.
Because he defeated Dillashaw so soundly, Cejudo has also staked a claim on the next shot at the 135-pound title as he looks to become a two-division UFC champion.
To complicate matters even more, Moraes only has one fight left on his current UFC contract and he’s making it clear that he’s only interested in re-signing a new deal if he’s guaranteed the title shot.
“I do want to talk about the contract but my first fight has got to be for the belt. My next fight’s the title shot,” Moraes said following his latest win. “If it’s not a title shot, no new contract.”
Moraes says he’s never been financially motivated as a fighter so he’s not trying to gouge the UFC for a couple of extra zeroes at the end of his next paycheck.
“I want the belt. I’m not asking for anything. I think I’ve earned it” ~ Marlon Moraes
Instead, the 30-year old Brazilian says he just wants what he believes is owed to him because in any other division in the sport, he should be the undisputed No. 1 contender for the title.
“If it’s not for the belt, I’m not fighting,” Moraes said. “I’m grateful for everything. Since I signed with the UFC, my main goal has never been to be a millionaire. I never asked for money. I never asked for much. They always took care of me but my goal is to be a champion.
“I want the belt. I’m not asking for anything. I think I’ve earned it. I just want to get what I earned.”
When it comes to the title, Moraes isn’t even all that concerned about who he faces because right now the current champion is coming off a 32-second knockout loss.
That’s why Moraes says he would even face Cejudo if that’s what the UFC wanted but only if the bantamweight title is on the line.
“I’ll fight Cejudo, I’ll fight TJ but you’ve got to put a belt [on the line],” Moraes said. “If no belt, I’m not fighting. I’m not like these guys ‘oh I can’t fight now because I want to take a break’. I want to fight. I want to be a champion. I want to be an active champion.”
As of now, the UFC has made no definitive decisions regarding what comes next in the bantamweight division or who will be facing Dillashaw next with the title on the line.