John Moraga is fighting an old foe this weekend on UFC Fight Night: Henderson vs Khabilov in John Dodson. The two previously fought on a Nemesis Fighting card in 2010, where Dodson won a unanimous decision. However, Moraga told BJPenn.com radio that he doesn’t even really think about their first fight, saying “the first time we fought, that was bogus, I’m not even worried about that fight. I don’t even count it in my head, I didn’t even lose that fight.”
While that statement may lead some to believe that Moraga (14-2, 3-1 UFC) is out for revenge in their rematch, Moraga’s motivation is entirely different. It’s not revenge that motivates him, but his career and his family.
“[It’s] not necessarily because of who I’m fighting, but more so because of where I’m at in my career, I have a family, I have two kids that I’m trying to provide a future for. In the company’s eyes I’ve had my shot at the title, so it’s more about where I’m at in my career right now,” Moraga said. “That’s the motivation for me, I can’t afford this other loss, I can’t take another step back, I have to keep going forward if I’m going to accomplish the goals that I set out for myself, it’s not so much about Dodson, it was never about that…I’m one or two losses from making minimum wage again, so I have to keep grinding.”
Moraga believes that the difference maker in the rematch with Dodson will be his improved training camp structure, which he wasn’t able to work on until after his title fight loss against Demetrious Johnson.
“The first time I fought John Dodson, I wasn’t even really training like a pro. I was training the best that I could as a pro fighter, and even leading up to the Demetrious Johnson fight, still not fully training like I am now. I have a baby sitter now, I don’t have to pick up my kids from school, taking them here, there, to the gym like some people saw in the Road to the Octagon show. That was all stuff that I was doing on my way up that I felt good about doing but didn’t really realize what it was taking away from my training, so I had to make a few adjustments after that,” Moraga said. “But now I feel like I’m training like a pro fighter, my focus, my training, I don’t have as much stuff between training practices that’s taking away from my focus. The first time I fought Dodson, I was training like someone who just wanted to see what he could do in the sport, so even at that point I was able to learn from that, and from [the Johnson loss] I learned a lot more, and now I’m just more professional.”