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John Moraga says if he had final say, he would fight ‘the easiest opponents’

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UFC flyweight John Moraga wants to fight very often moving forward to beef up his bank account. He says he’s made “bad business decisions” in the past by fighting high-level competition — including champ Demetrious Johnson — for small amounts of money.

John Moraga has had an up and down UFC career, but his recent knockout win over Magomed Bibulatov at UFC 216 put things into perspective.

The upset was a very important victory, because before it, the flyweight was 1-3 in his last four fights dating back to 2015. Moraga admitted that for a while, stepping into the cage and putting his health on the line wasn’t paying off.

“I’ve been at this for a while, and it just hasn’t seemed like it’s been paying off,” Moraga told MMAjunkie Radio (transcript via MMAjunkie.com). “It has been, but at the same time, it really hasn’t. It hasn’t been what I’ve needed it to be, so it was just a big win for my career.”

Moraga is a veteran, having fought the best of the best at 125 pounds, including longtime king Demetrious Johnson, as well as top contenders Joseph Benavidez and John Dodson. But he never made life-changing money in those big fights; for example, against Johnson, whom Moraga fought for the flyweight title in 2013, he made a disclosed purse of only $17,000. So moving forward, “Chicano” just wants to take as many fights and rack up as many wins as possible, which would lead to financial success.

Moraga added he recently signed a new deal with the UFC, but because of his three-fight skid that ended just a few months ago, he didn’t have much leverage to negotiate and subsequently “kind of took what they gave me.”

“Right now, I’ll just be content getting some more wins and stacking my money a little bit,” he said.

Mixed martial arts is a sport full of pride. Some fighters want the toughest tests to prove that they’re elite and deserve to be in the Octagon. But of course, many are just in it for the money. Moraga might not directly fall under that group, but his ultimate goal is to financially secure his future.

He admitted that if he had final say, he would fight lesser competition to further extend his current winning streak. That would help him quickly get back into title contention and give him bigger fights in which he might make a larger paycheck.

“If I could choose, yeah, I want the easiest opponents,” Moraga said. “I want to get more money and fight the easier opponents, get some highlights, raise my spots a little bit, and then fight the top guys for more money and make it worth it, because I fought them all for pennies, basically. I just made bad business decisions.”


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