“Right now, I have no respect for this guy,” Moraes told MMA Fighting. “Zero respect, not for him, not for his team, for how they are acting. At the fight, Aldo took the microphone, he says I want to congratulate you, no big drama. But he goes home and he sees what Henry (Cejudo) says and he changes literally from 0 to 100. From blue to red. Like ‘I won the fight, Marlon was scared, I see his face.’
“I was not scared. I’ve got 30 fights. I’ve been fighting everyday. I’m not going to be scared. Of course, I’m fighting Aldo, I got a little nervous. Everybody gets a little nervous, but once you get in there, it’s just another body in there. ... He acts like he accepted [the loss], he talked with me right there, and he goes home and he does an interview and talks all this sh*t. F*ck this guy.”
Moraes, a former title challenger, battled the once-dominant featherweight champ in a back and forth scrap. After three rounds, he was awarded the split decision victory. The fight ultimately was decided by the third round.
After rewatching the fight several times, Moraes has only gained confidence that he deserved the nod over Aldo.
“The more you watch, the less you think he won,” Moraes said. “I think one of the main reasons people thought he won: No. 1, because it’s Jose Aldo; No. 2, he was walking [forward] like he wanted to do something; (and) No. 3, it’s about the crowd. I’m fighting Aldo, I’m fighting smart and people are booing me.
“I watched it four or five times, and I know more than I won. I’m fine. I beat this guy and won. Like I said before, it was going to be hard to beat him on the score because I’m fighting Jose Aldo, I’ve got to finish him. I could not finish him, but I definitely think I won.”
While Aldo constantly pressed forward with an aggressive style, Moraes consistently beat him to the punch, outlanding him 20 to 15 in significant strikes. Moraes’ evasiveness also led to Aldo only landing 29 percent of his shots thrown that round, which gave him confidence that the decision should go his way.
Moraes gives Aldo credit for still surging late in the final round, when he admits he expected the ex-champ to run out of gas after a tough cut to bantamweight. Still, there is no question in his mind that the judges made the right call.
“I catch him more with the cleaner shots with better punches, like straight punches,” Moraes said. “He was throwing [overhand] stuff, hooks and missing. He hit my chest. I’m a fighter and I like the game. I love the game. I watch this many times. I’m honest. If I lost the fight, I’m going to tell you I lost.
“Just like my first fight with Raphael [Assuncao]. I thought I won, but it was a close fight. It could go either way. This one, definitely not, especially in the third round. He couldn’t say anything. The third round, I was definitely the better man.”
Minutes after the event ended, UFC president Dana White said Cejudo, then a two-division champ, had sent him a message saying he believed Aldo deserved to get the win and wanted to face the Brazilian legend in a bantamweight title defense.
Since that time, Cejudo and Aldo have gone on a very public campaign trying to put the fight together. Meanwhile, bantamweight contenders like Petr Yan and Aljamain Sterling have scoffed at the potential matchup.
Moraes agrees with his fellow bantamweights in panning the proposed matchup, adding that for all the great things Aldo has done, he’s currently riding a two-fight losing streak.
“Henry [Cejudo], he wants to fight Aldo,” Moraes said. “He doesn’t want to fight me. He doesn’t want to fight the other contenders. He knows Aldo is a big draw. He was the champion at 145, and fighting him right now is worth more.
“It’s an easier fight with more reward. You and everyone in the game knows what I’m saying.”
Looking towards the future, Moraes is moving past the Aldo fight with hopes to take on another top-five ranked bantamweight once he’s ready to return to action. Eventually, though, he hopes to cross paths again with Aldo so they can settle what was started at UFC 245.
But for now, Moraes said, Aldo needs to move to the back of the line.
“Petr Yan, Sandhagen, Sterling, they are on a good streak now,” he said. “They’ve got victories. They do deserve. Aldo does not deserve [a title shot]. That’s a p*ssy move what he’s doing. ‘Oh I want to fight you, I want to beat you’ — you just lost. How can you call the shots? How can you say you want the shot? There are guys in front of you.
“You did not beat nobody. You just lost two fights in a row. Take your time. Get another fight, show to everyone what you’re worth. Finish somebody, and then you can call the shots. Right now, he cannot call the shots. It’s going to be dumb if they do this fight, but whatever, I’m going to be going to the gym. I’m going to train hard, and I’m going to fight all these guys. One day, the fight’s going to come again.”