“I’m excited to be back. It’s been way too long,” Rob Font said this week ahead of UFC Vegas 17. “I’m getting tired of these damn year-off layoffs.”
It has indeed been a year since we last saw Rob Font. UFC on ESPN 7 in Washington, D.C. was the last time we glimpsed the bantamweight talent in action. That night, he claimed a unanimous decision win against Ricky Simon. It was Font’s second straight victory.
The problem has been the layoff in between. This time due to ACL surgery. But prior to UFC DC, Font had another year-long layoff. December cards are starting to feel like his trademark, really. This is the biggest one yet, mind you, with the biggest opponent Font’s had to date: Marlon Moraes.
Font, who’s looking to break into the top five at bantamweight, admits that he was a little surprised to land Moraes name so soon after the Brazilian’s loss to Cory Sandhagen. “Yes and no. My manager and coach Tyson [Chartier] kind of hinted at it, but it wasn’t something we were going after. I figured I’d get somebody closer to my ranking.” Of course, the answer was nothing but yes when Font did get the call.
With Moraes coming off a loss, and losing two of his last three, Font isn’t sure if Moraes will look any different this Saturday. “He switched camps, he’s kind of on a skid right now, so that’s kind of in my favor,” he stated. “Hopefully he doesn’t change anything and I just put him away early.”
It would cap quite the comeback if he did. As Rob Font put it during the UFC Vegas 17 media day on Thursday, “I got a brand new knee.”
The injury was “frustrating” for a fighter who had never seriously been hurt before. “It sucked, I honestly did not want to do the surgery,” Font admitted. The mishap occurred during the fight with Simon a year ago. “I didn’t even think I needed surgery. I tore it in the second round, got through the third round. Woke up the next day, walked around DC, went to the zoo, did all that and then once I got the MRI and went to see the surgeon, it was a shock. They’re like ‘nah bro you’re out for a year or nine months and you need surgery.'”
Font couldn’t believe it. But after a few days of being “pissed” he moved forward, got the surgery, and then “made rehab my new sport, my new martial art, and just put my head down and got to work.” Making things a little better was actually the coronavirus pandemic, since it “kind of slowed everything down.” Still, it was frustrating watching everyone else fight, said Font.
That frustration is now over. Font returns against Moraes on Saturday, and he has a good roadmap on how to beat the Brazilian care of Cory Sandhagen. “He showed a lot of what happens when you keep the range, you show a lot of footwork, and you go out there and just be fearless,” said Font. “And I plan on mimicking that.”
Watch the full UFC Vegas 17 media day scrum with Rob Font above.