The last few months haven’t been easy for Sheymon Moraes. Considered one of the most promising Brazilian talents in MMA, Moraes lost almost two years of his career to a contract dispute with World Series of Fighting before reentering the market and signing with the UFC, for which he’ll make his debut this weekend when he faces Russian phenom Zabit Magomedsharipov in Shanghai, China.
“It was a very difficult period for me”, Moraes told AG. Fight. “I did food delivery and also ended up transporting people for Lyft, which is something similar to Uber. In the other organization that I was competing for, nobody wanted to fight me, but I was still under contract, so I couldn’t fight. But this is now behind us.”
Relieved to finally be just days away from his first fight for the world leader in MMA, Moraes is looking forward to the variety of opponents that the UFC’s packed featherweight division has in store for him as well as the ability to fight regularly. 17 months after his last fight, a decision win over Luis Palomino, that might be the part he’s most excited about.
“It’s a big difference being in the UFC”, Moraes said. “Every division has many athletes, so you end up having more variety [regarding potential opponents]. With more athletes, you get more challenges. And then you get a lot more fights. That motivates me, because it’s a sign that it’s up to me to get to the top and I’ll be prepared for whatever comes.”
The 27-year-old Brazilian didn’t expect to have his first fight far away from home in China, but that won’t deter Moraes when he steps into the Octagon this weekend, where he promises to deliver a spectacular show.
“What matters is that I will fight – no matter what country, I’ll fight anywhere”, Moraes said. “Our job is to entertain and give a show to the fans, so it makes no difference if it’s in China, Japan or Brazil. What matters to us is to fight and to interact with the fans and to always try to give a show.”
Having won nine of his ten professional fights himself, Moraes is set to face off with another promising newcomer. Sporting 13 wins with only one loss, Zabit Magomedsharipov impressed in his UFC debut last September when he steamrolled and finished Mike Santiago, giving his best Anthony Pettis impersonation with spinning techniques and a kick off the fence. That’s not going to intimidate Moraes, though.
“Whoever wins this fight will be one of the new big names in the division”, Moraes said. “He’s a tough opponent who has great skills. The best man will win and, god willing, it’s going to be me.”