One FC is about to crown its first flyweight champion, and Brazilian prospect Adriano Moraes wants to bring the gold back home.
Moraes takes on Geje Eustaquio for the vacant 125-pound championship on Sept. 12 in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, and he doesn’t expect an easy win at One FC 20.
"My preparation was intense. I had a hard three-month training camp, with a lot of great sparring and coaches. I want to show the world on Sept. 12 that I’m ready and I deserve the title," Moraes told MMAFighting.
"I feel honored to be fighting for the One FC title," he continued. "I feel it’s a reward for all the hard work I’ve done throughout all these years. I can achieve that dream on Sept. 12. I’m really happy and motivated for this opportunity."
"Mikinho" enters the bout coming off a pair of submission victories under the One FC banner, while Eustaquio defeated both of his past opponents via unanimous decision.
"I expect a war," the Brazilian said of the five-round bout. "Geje Eustaquio is a well-rounded, really tough fighter. I can’t expect anything but a close fight. My experience can be an important factor in this fight, but Geje is mentally strong. I don’t think experience will be a huge factor in this fight."
Moraes earns his shot at the gold an year after making his promotional debut in Malaysia. After racking up a perfect 9-0 record in the Brazilian MMA circuit, the flyweight prospect wants to make a name for himself in the Asian market.
"I see the Asian market growing every day, and I want to be part of this growth," he said. "One FC reinvented high-level MMA after the end of Pride FC, and I feel honored to be part of this promotion. I don’t plan to fight in the North America market, although I already received some offers, because I’m really happy with everything that One FC offers me. I want to build my career at One FC."
With only three years as a professional MMA fighter, "Mikinho" won’t call himself the best flyweight in the world if he wins the One FC 125-pound title, but he disagrees that you can only prove to be the best in the UFC.
"I have less than three years as a professional MMA fighter, so I have to evolve a lot as a fighter to consider myself the best," he said.
"The UFC might have the better fighters, but that’s not definitive. There are a lot of examples that prove this theory wrong," Moraes added. "Bibiano Fernandes, in my opinion, is the best bantamweight in the world. Ben Askren, One FC’s welterweight champion, would win the UFC championship. Aoki is another top 5 fighter in the world at lightweight. These are only a few examples, but there are many others."
Fighting out of Brasilia, the Constrictor Team product is open to a possible move to Evolve MMA in the future.
"That’s in my plans," he said. "Right after my last fight, I went to Singapore to visit Evolve MMA. I confess I was really impressed with what I saw. Let’s see what the future holds."