Since a two-fight skid that saw him fall from the UFC’s lightweight rankings, Thiago Moises has been on a mission to get back to where he belongs. A fight with hot prospect Guram Kutateladze seemed to be just what the doctor ordered to do precisely that. However, when their UFC 283 date was cancelled due to an injury, Thiago Moises was left with a choice. Fight an unranked, debuting fighter on short notice or drop out of the UFC’s return to Brazil.
“Of course I was pretty upset when the fight fell apart because I was training for this guy for like nine weeks – training specifically to fight Guram [Kutateladze],” Moises explained. “In my mind, it was never an option – not fighting.”
Some of the reason for his choice was that he wanted to be a part of the organizations return to his birthplace. Although that was a piece of it, there is also a lot of respect for his new opponent, Melquizael Costa.
“I was going to fight whoever they put in front of me,” he said. “I’m happy that I got a fight. I got a tough opponent next and I’m taking him as seriously as I was taking Guram.”
And it’s not just research that allowed Moises to get a read on just how good his new opponent is. In fact, Costa was already on his radar prior to the booking.
“Before they offered me this fight against him, I already knew who he was. He was in great fights on the national scene, beating a lot of good guys in Brazil,” Moises said. “There’s a lot of tough guys outside the UFC, especially in LFA and in Brazil.”
Just being tough may not be enough for Moises, who has already been deep into fights with top talent including current champion Islam Makhachev. Moises feels his experience will just be too much for the newcomer. And after taking care of business, he isn’t looking to get re-booked with his original foe because he’s got bigger fish to fry.
“After I beat Melky, I want a ranked opponent,” he said. “A win over Guram, I already would have been back in the rankings, so I want to fight a ranked opponent next.”
Moises fight with Guram Kutateladze will be on the preliminary card of this weekend’s UFC 283. The fight can be seen on ESPN+.
You can hear the entire audio of this interview at 2:07.