Matthew Semelsberger accepted a fight at UFC 277 immediately when he saw the opponent was Alex Morono.
Semelsberger returns to action for the second time in 2022 this weekend at the PPV event in Dallas, Texas. In his last outing, he spoiled AJ Fletcher’s UFC debut and took his 0 away.
In his next outing, he faces UFC veteran Morono, who, if you don’t remember, has been in the UFC since 2016.
When “Semi the Jedi” got the call about the match-up, he accepted the fight no questions asked, because he felt it was a significant next step in his career.
“[I was] very excited because I’ve watched Alex Moreno like even before I was in the UFC, man. I’ve always been a UFC fan; that was how I got into MMA, was watching UFC and just being a fan of it. So I knew all about Alex before I even got the fight offer,” Semelsberger told Cageside Press in an exclusive interview recently. “So, as soon as I heard the name, I was like, ‘Yes!’ This is the type of challenge I’m looking for because he’s had a lot of fights in the UFC. He’s been around for a while, he’s fought like the top of the top and former champions. You know, Donald Cerrone fought him”
“I was just overall really, really excited. But also, you know, in a good way, like nervous too, because it’s like, you get a big challenge like that and that’s a lot. But going back to the whole pressure thing, I just like being pressured. Because I know it’s like an opportunity for me to grow and an opportunity for me to do something cool and special.”
When the fight was announced, fans knew this was going to be a fun fight, and Semelsberger agreed.
The 29-year-old is planning to knock Morono out but says don’t be super surprised if you see a submission.
“Ideally, and confidently, I can say, by knockout. I mean, that’s what I like to do, man. I like to put my hands on people,” Semelsberger said. “But I will say, I come from Crazy 88s, which is very, very well known for their jujitsu program, and we have lots and lots of successful jujitsu competitors at Crazy 88s. I think it would be amazing to get an opportunity to land a submission. So, I’m not going to shy away from hunting submissions because my grappling is actually pretty good. And actually, in the grand scheme of my training time, I have more grappling experience than I do striking experience.”
Semelsberger and Morono have a common opponent, Khaos Williams. Semelsberger went three rounds with Williams, while Morono was knocked out in 27 seconds. However, the fact that Morono got knocked out in 27 seconds means nothing to “Semi the Jedi,” who is not a believer in MMA Math.
“MMA is just one of those sports where it’s like, you can get caught,” Semelsberger said. “Like, even with my fight with Khaos. I didn’t take a lot of risks in that fight. I mean, granted, I did land a decent little bit, and I did some good things in that fight. But you look at like Alex’s fight with him, like Alex was like 100% there to bang with Khaos, and he just got caught. So I don’t buy into the MMA stuff too much, man, especially given the fact that Morono has so much experience.”
Watch the rest of our interview with Matthew Semelsberger above. Semelsberger vs. Morono is the featured prelim on ESPN at UFC 277 this Saturday, July 30, 2022.