Sarah Moras picked up a much-needed win in her last outing, but the result was clouded by something every fighter wants to avoid.
The dreaded weight miss.
For her fight with Liana Jojua at UFC 242 in Abu Dhabi last September, Moras came in at 138 pounds, two pounds over the bantamweight limit. It was the first time in Moras’s nine-year career that she’d failed to beat the scale and though she picked up a much-needed win, she walked away from that fight slightly embarrassed and with her wallet a little lighter than it would have been had she made weight.
Moras has had time to reflect on what went wrong in that fight camp and she recently told MMA Fighting that she’s gone back to what works for her.
“I think a big part of it was me not listening to myself and taking other people’s advice over my own and trusting their opinion over my own,” Moras said. “After that fight, I stopped listening to other people. Like, I’d listen to them, but I’d make my own mind and I just did everything my own way.
“I went into this camp 15 pounds lighter than I normally do. My weight is much lighter than it was even going into fight week last time right now. I really dialed in on it and just really listened to myself and my body and just tried to figure out what works for me rather than what other people think works for me. It turns out I actually know my s*it a bit.”
A back-to-basics approach could be exactly what Moras needs, especially given how circumstances have changed for her and every other fighter with the coronavirus pandemic leading to the shutdown of most gyms, resulting in limited training options. Currently, Moras is in Las Vegas, though she joked that she’d packed up half of a truck in case she had to head back up north across the border to her native British Columbia.
As it turned out, Moras’s decision to stay in Vegas to prepare for an upcoming fight with Sijara Eubanks at UFC 249 proved to be a moot one as the event has since been canceled in the wake of growing concerns around the coronavirus pandemic. Moras told MMA Fighting that her management has been talking with the UFC about compensating her for the booking and rescheduling her as soon as possible.
The chaos in the lead-up to the matchup hadn’t affected the 31-year-old much, at least compared to how her fighting career started.
“I guess I’ve just been in the game so long now that when I started it wasn’t very orthodox,” Moras said. “Before my first fight, my first amateur fight, like, my 200-something-pound coach just wailing me in the face while I was turtled on the ground and then he said, ‘If you can take that, you can take a fight.’ And that was pretty much my camp for that. So, I feel more prepared now than I did then.”
Moras’s coaching situation has evolved since then, though as she learned recently more voices aren’t always better. According to her, listening to people outside of her inner circle was one of the main reasons her weight cut for her last fight went so badly.
“Normally, I just bath. I bath it out,” Moras said. “I bath as long as I can so I don’t have to do as many of them and that’s usually what I do. But I was told to run outside and sweat after I’d already cut seven pounds. I don’t know, just some of the stuff just left me too exhausted to do anything that worked after that.”
Moras was part of the first—and to date, only—cast of female bantamweights to appear on The Ultimate Fighter where she joined future contenders Julianna Pena, Raquel Pennington, and Roxanne Modafferi on Team Miesha Tate. She’s competed at 135 pounds since, compiling a 3-4 record in the UFC. The win over Jojua snapped a three-fight losing skid for the Canadian.
For now, Moras plans to stick it out at bantamweight, though she isn’t ruling out the possibility of dropping down to flyweight (a division that didn’t exist in the UFC when she first joined it) now that she’s got her diet on point.
“Honestly, once I started doing things my own way, I think I could make ‘25,” Moras said. “As crazy as that is, I used to think that I’d have to move up to ‘45, but after figuring all this out myself, I haven’t really been dieting or anything until camp. I can make weight within a week. I’m pretty f*ckin’ fat right now, so if I was a little stricter with what I was eating, I could probably make ‘25.”