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UFC’s Albert Morales on debut: ‘I got caught up in my own hype’

Albert Morales wasn’t happy with how his UFC debut went in September. He believes that he was too concerned with the glitz and glamour of being a UFC fighter, and is adamant that his attitude has already changed.

MMA: UFC Fight Night-Perez vs Morales Sean Porkorny-USA TODAY Sports

At a young age of 25 years old, UFC bantamweight Albert Morales already knows how to market himself well. Although he’s new to the UFC, he’s a very vocal character and isn’t scared to ask for what he wants.

Morales was actually initially disappointed his debut opponent at UFC Fight Night 94 in September was Alejandro Perez, as he would have preferred to fight a ranked bantamweight right off the hop.

But he took the fight, anyway, and got his UFC debut out of the way. He went to a majority draw with the TUF: Latin America winner, showing an overall solid skill-set for a newcomer, especially in the opening round.

Now, however, he has in front of him what he wanted in the first place: a top 15 fighter.

“The Warrior” was recently booked to fight Thomas Almeida in the co-main event of UFC Fight Night 100 on Nov. 19, which will be by far the biggest spotlight he’s ever been in. He was somewhat surprised that he got a fight with Almeida, and even more surprised that he was booked so soon after debut.

He’s a huge fan of this particular matchup — he said that Almeida is his favorite bantamweight fighter (besides himself, of course), and believes that the Brazilian is the most dangerous and well-rounded bantamweight in the UFC.

He’s more than ready for what may seem like a daunting task to many, though.

“I think he should be scared of me, because I’m coming to take his head off. And I think everybody in the bantamweight division needs to be scared of me,” Morales told’s The MMA Circus. “He’s an animal, but he’s about to meet the king of the jungle. I’m excited for it. I’m not intimidated. I’m going to show the bantamweight division what’s up.”

Morales is an outspoken person, but he believes he almost took it too far going into his last fight. He admitted to being too worried about other things, and not focusing on the most important task at hand: the fight.

“This last fight, I didn’t get caught up in the UFC hype; I got caught up in my own hype,” he said. “I kind of played myself out. I set this image in my head, and I was focused on other things other than just winning the fight. And it put me in situations where I actually wasted a lot of energy and kind of looked sloppy.

“I just got almost arrogant. I was thinking big money cheques and a whole bunch of nonsense that wasn’t important. It took me off my game a little bit. I was in another place.”

He beat himself up after the fight for being that way, but is adamant that he has already changed and won’t go into the Almeida fight with the same mindset and attitude.

“I’ve been kicking my own ass for the past couple months,” he said. “I’m 100 percent way more focused.

“I’ve always had a chip on my shoulder. I’ve always felt like a starving dog and I’m just trying to eat, I’m just trying to get whatever I can. And this last fight, I kind of lost that starving dog mentality. I was almost like, ‘You’ve made it.’ I don’t know. I was just being an idiot. I wasn’t myself. I wasn’t the person that got to the UFC. I need to get back to that person, I need to always be that person.”

In only a couple months, Morales said that his life has changed entirely. As a newly-signed fighter, he recognizes that the amount of money he made in his first fight inside the Octagon wasn’t a large amount. That said, Morales said that it has helped him tremendously. He no longer lives in the gym; he bought a small house. He’s only been in the UFC for a few months and he’s already in a much, much better situation than before.

Although his attitude has changed, he still plans on being vocal. He still wants to call his shots. But he’s going to do so in a manner that doesn’t mentally drain him.

“I’m going to talk the truth,” he said. “This isn’t a fake, this isn’t a copy-cat of anybody — this is who I am. I’ve always been very vocal about how I feel about my division and about other fighters. I feel that the game is full of a bunch of fakes. Sure, they’re at the big show, but that doesn’t mean they’re real fighters. And I’m gonna call them out, I’m gonna call everybody out on their weaknesses.

“I’m just taking it back, taking myself back a bit more. I’m not going to blow my own head up. I kind of blew myself up — that’s what I did. Instead of speaking, I started — I don’t know what I was doing, I was just all over the place. It was disgusting. That person is dead now. I killed him. I buried him.”

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