The Brazilian talent, who improved to 2-1 as a lightweight with a pair of rear-naked choke finishes, was happy to finally deliver a good performance since moving up to 155 pounds in the UFC. The American Top Team representative now sees a bright future ahead in the promotion going forward.
“I’m 2-1 in the division, but I wanna be 10-1. I wanna go strong in this division,” Moicano told MMA Fighting. “Let’s see what the UFC has to offer, but I’m happy with my performance. I felt great in this division. Let’s stay humble, not talk too much, but keep working hard to continue to improve my game.”
“He’s a great fighter that not too many people want to fight, so I’d be more than willing to test [my] jiu-jitsu against his wrestling,” Moicano said.
Gillespie is ranked No. 10 in the official UFC lightweight list, but Moicano defends his callout based on his history as a featherweight in the UFC, a run that features wins over the likes of Calvin Kattar, Cub Swanson, and Jeremy Stephens.
“I’ll work twice as hard at lightweight,” Moicano said. “[Gillespie] is avoided [by others], right? My strategy is to ask for those fights, ask for fights that nobody wants. Nobody wants to fight this guy. He’s good, he’s at the top, so I want him. If you don’t want it, I’ll take it. Gillespie had that loss to Kevin Lee, who’s also a wrestler, but he has one of the best grappling in the UFC, regardless of weight class, and just did an incredible fight with Diego Ferreira.
“I think it’s a fight that makes sense, it’s a clash of styles. I just got here [to the division] so I can’t go out calling people out at 155, especially since I had a loss to a tough guy [Rafael Fiziev], but I have a name in the UFC, I have 11 fights in the UFC and a good record. I’ve fought all the best guys at featherweight. Won some, lost some, but only two or three of my featherweight fights were against unranked opponents. I think we have to take that into consideration and book me against someone at the top.”
Moicano said he sees holes in Gillespie’s work on the mat despite “The Gift’s” long list of victories on the ground, including a couple of arm-triangle chokes inside the octagon and many ground-and-pound stoppages.
“Maybe his jiu-jitsu isn’t the best off his back,” Moicano said. “Most of the time he just tries to scramble and get back to his feet. He won’t just play guard, right? It’s not his thing. I see him a technical guy in the grappling area, but maybe his jiu-jitsu has some flaws.”