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Renato Moicano hopes Cub Swanson win at UFC 227 leads to rematch against Brian Ortega

Renato Moicano faces Cub Swanson at the UFC 227 card in Los Angeles.
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Renato Moicano suffered his first MMA loss last July when he tapped at the hands of featherweight contender Brian Ortega in the final minutes of their UFC 214 fight.

A year later, he sees his fight with Cub Swanson as an opportunity to guarantee a chance to avenge that defeat.

Moicano returns to the Octagon on Aug. 4 at UFC 227, four months after defeating Calvin Kattar via decision in Brooklyn. While Ortega waits for clarity after his fight with 145-pound kingpin Max Holloway on July 7 was cancelled, Moicano is setting his own goals of avenging his loss to Ortega and attaining featherweight gold.

“Swanson and I were both on a roll before we lost to Ortega,” Moicano told MMA Fighting, “so I think whoever wins this fight gets right back to the top of the division and close to a fight for the belt. I’m focused on fighting the best and I want my chance, I want a rematch with Ortega and then the belt, so I have to fight someone ranked in the top.”

Getting back at the opponent who ruined his previously undefeated 12-1-1 record, Moicano says, is nothing personal.

”I don’t have anything against him, no revenge feeling because he beat me, but it’s because he’s close to the belt so that makes sense to me,” Moicano said of Ortega. “If you look at his last fights, I was his toughest opponent. Winning this fight, it makes sense to rematch Ortega. I hope he wins the belt, so we rematch for the title.”

Moicano hopes for that, but still wouldn't pick Ortega in a fight with Holloway.

”I don’t think so,” Moicano laughed. “Looking at their styles, Max Holloway doesn’t get desperate and doesn’t give much openings. He’s the champion. He beat one of the greatest of all-time twice, Jose Aldo, the way he beat him, so we have to respect him.

”We can’t underestimate Ortega because he was losing six or seven fights in the UFC, I don’t know, and came back to win in the end, so he doesn’t waste opportunities and will make you pay for any mistake, but I think Max Holloway is surrounded by a great team that will get him prepared. He has great weapons, clinch, kicks, movement, he doesn’t get tired.

”Let’s see who imposes their game first. I root for Ortega, but at the same time I root for Max Holloway because he appears to be a nice guy and it would be an honor to fight him one day.”

The American Top Team athlete considers himself one of the talents that represents a new era in the featherweight division, yet he knows he can’t overlook a dangerous veteran like Swanson.

Swanson has beaten names like Jeremy Stephens and Dustin Poirier and pocketed 10 post-fight bonuses throughout his WEC and UFC career, and that’s what Moicano loves about the matchup.

”I think this fight can go many different ways,” Moicano said. “The fact that he’s coming off two losses doesn’t change anything for me because he’s had losses in the past and came back better. He’s used to doing fights of the night and I have nothing but respect for him, but I’m going in there to beat him. I don’t know how, but I will beat him.

”My goal is to have that belt in my hands,” he continued. “I came here to win, to show we’re working hard to get to the top. I would like to represent Brazil the best way possible. We know it’s hard to make a living as an athlete in Brazil, but I want to give hope to people that are starting in the sport now or those who have been following it for a long time but are hopeless in the future. I want to make Brazil strong again in MMA.”

It’s still hard to make a living as a mixed martial artist, Moicano admits, but life has changed a lot since he decided to move out from Brasilia, Brazil, to join American Top Team full-time in Florida.

”I can’t complain because I’ve never imagined having the things I have now in the sport, the things I can buy,” Moicano said. “If it wasn’t for MMA, I wouldn’t have the chance to come to the United States, buy a car so I don’t depend on anyone else. It wouldn’t be possible without MMA.

”Of course we know the Reebok deal didn’t help in that sense because we used to pay our bills with sponsorship money and invest or save the money we got from the fights, so what happens today is that I make a living through my fight purse. I fight, and the money I make, I use it until I fight again. But I don’t complain. This is the life I asked God to have, to be able to do what I do and be better every day. I see that things are getting better and we have a great future ahead of us.”

A win over Swanson at UFC 227 represents all of that for Moicano: A step closer to the belt, a possible rematch with Ortega, and helping to lead the new era of featherweights that can put the sport back on top in Brazil.

”I never dreamed about things like buying a nice car, my dream is to buy my own house, so everything I do I do for my family, my wife,” Moicano said. “My goal was to have my gym, and thanks to the UFC I was able to have open my gym in Brasilia and be able to make a living not only from the fights. But my main goal is to have my own house, in Brazil or in the United States. That’s what I’m working for.”

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