Top UFC bantamweight contender Marlon Moraes is targeting matchups against former champion Cody Garbrandt and Dominick Cruz for his next fight.
Despite coming off of a split decision win over Jose Aldo in his last outing at UFC 245, Moraes is the odd man out in the UFC bantamweight division after the promotion decided to go with Aldo against Petr Yan for the vacant belt at UFC 251. Moraes was supposed to fight Yan at UFC Kazakhstan before the coronavirus pandemic forced the card to be canceled, which left him without an opponent after the UFC gave Yan the Aldo fight.
Aljamain Sterling is next in line to fight for the belt against the winner of Yan vs. Aldo, which means Moraes doesn’t have a clear opponent for his next fight. Instead of sitting around and waiting to see what happens, Moraes is now being proactive and trying to get his next fight locked in. In a post on his Instagram, Moraes targeted matchups against the No. 4 ranked Garbrandt and the No. 12. ranked Cruz.
I’m not the best making excuses! I was taught to say yes for every challenge. Get the F.. in the Ring and Fight. Enough is enough thats names available and they all saying No. what’s up? @cody_nolove fastest hands in all roster etc etc why No ??? @dominickcruz best batamweight all the time etc etc why no ??? @ufc @ufc_brasil @aliabdelaziz000
Although Moraes is the No. 1 contender at 135lbs, he doesn’t appear to be getting a title shot anytime soon, so calling out Garbrandt and Cruz is a smart move for him right now. Garbrandt is coming off of a huge KO win over Raphael Assuncao at UFC 250 that announced his return to the elite of the bantamweight division after having lost three straight fights by knockout to TJ Dillashaw twice and to Pedro Munhoz. As for Cruz, although he lost to former champ Henry Cejudo in his last fight via TKO, he’s still a former long-time champion, a legend of the sport, and a huge name in the 135lbs division.
With Moraes having not fought since last December, he will likely want to get back into the Octagon by the end of the summer. The UFC Fight Island cards seem to be all full at the moment, but perhaps the UFC can book Moraes on one of the August cards in Vegas. A spot on the UFC 252: Miocic vs. Cormier 3 undercard makes sense for Moraes next.
Would you rather see Marlon Moraes fight Cody Garbrandt or Dominick Cruz next?