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Renato Moicano wants another top opponent after winning fight that ‘made no sense'

UFC on FOX 24 photos Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Renato Moicano eyes another big fight inside the Octagon.

The undefeated featherweight faced longtime UFC veteran Jeremy Stephens on the main card of UFC on FOX 24 on April 15, improving to 3-0 under the promotion’s banner with a decision win.

With the biggest fight of his life in the books, Moicano, who turned down multiple pre-fight interviews in order to focus on the bout, explains why he wasn’t surprised when the promotion offered him a fight with Stephens.

“I wasn’t surprised because they offered me a bigger fight with another top 5 in January, but the opponent turned it down,” Moicano told MMA Fighting, declining to reveal the fighter's name. “I believe he turned it down because it was a fight that didn’t make sense for him, so I expected them to offer me another top guy to test me."

Moicano won via split decision. It wasn’t an easy fight, he says, but was definitely easier than he expected. At 11-0-1 in MMA, the Brazilian talent has no idea who could be next, especially now that he’s ranked No. 11 in the UFC’s 145-pound ranking.

“This fight with Jeremy Stephens really made no sense, so I don’t know what the UFC is thinking now,” Moicano said. “It depends on who they want to promote, for an example. This fight, they clearly wanted to test me, and it seems like they wanted to elevate Jeremy, too. They gave him a fight to win. He was coming off a loss to an excellent fighter, Frankie (Edgar), so they gave him a fight in Kansas City, close to his hometown.

“I think a top 5 would be good,” he continued. “I see some things I still have to evolve, so I’m going to the United States to learn new techniques at American Top Team. I’d like to fight another top 5, if possible, but I’m fine with whoever they send. I’m happy. The tougher the opponent, the better.”

Moicano signed with the UFC in 2014, taking on Tom Niinimaki on short notice and winning by second-round submission, but only fought twice since. After changing the way he trains to avoid injuries, sparring only once a week instead of three times a week, Moicano expects to be back in action in July.

Ricardo Lamas, Cub Swanson and "The Korean Zombie" are the top 5 featherweights who don’t have fights booked as of right now, but the Brazilian won’t pick a name.

"I know everybody wants to be (Conor) McGregor these days and talk trash, but I won’t change the way I act,” Moicano said. “I'm a martial artist and I want to treat the UFC and MMA as martial arts. I want to show respect. That’s how I live my life. It’s not about making money, it’s about honor. Many people see this as a business, that they have to curse and talk trash, but I have a gym and there are a lot of kids that look up to me.

“I also don’t believe I have a voice yet to say who I want or don’t want to fight. McGregor or someone like him can say, but I don’t really think that changes much in the end. The UFC has its business model and they know how to make money.”

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