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Marlon Moraes thrilled to fight ‘better version of Dominick Cruz’ in Cory Sandhagen

Bantamweight contender Marlon Moraes is looking forward to putting on a dominant performance this weekend against a man he thinks may just be better than the division’s best ever champ.

Former WSOF bantamweight champion and UFC title challenger Marlon Moraes is eager to impress his fans on Saturday night. Paired up against top prospect Cory Sandhagen for UFC Fight Island 5’s main event, ‘Magic’ wants to show the world how high-level a mixed martial artist he really is.

In a recent interview with Ag Fight, Moraes explained, that while some may view this as a top contender’s bout, he is not even interested in another title shot at the moment. The American Top Team fighter just wants to show he is still one of the best bantamweights in the world. Although Moraes asked the UFC for a fight against former champion Dominick Cruz, he is happy to take on Sandhagen instead—someone he believes is an improved version of the veteran, anyway.

“It’s not about the title shot, it’s about caliber. I want to go out there and show my quality as a fighter,” Moraes explained. “Cory is not an easy fight for anyone. In my opinion, he is one of the best fighters in the division and one of the toughest ones to fight. I hear people saying ‘You’re going to fight a guy who just lost to the guy you knocked out’, but I don’t care. I to fight the best and I acknowledge how good he is, how good the bantamweight top 5 is. Anyone in the top 5 could be a champion.”

“I gave up on [the Dominick Cruz fight].” Marlon continued. “I tried everything I could to fight him and he would not fight me. It’s cool, there are many talented, great fighters out there. I’m always looking forward. I want to fight the best. I think Cory is a better version of Dominick Cruz. Faster, taller.”

In his last outing, back in December, Marlon Moraes (23-6-1) edged out former featherweight champion Jose Aldo via split decision. Before that, the 32-year-old was TKO’d in a battle for the vacant bantamweight title by flyweight champion Henry Cejudo—who later vacated both belts and announced his retirement from MMA.

UFC Fight Island 5 takes place this Saturday, October 10th, at the Flash Forum in Abu Dhabi. The event is expected to be headlined by Moraes clash with Sandhagen, with a featherweight bout between Edson Barboza and Makwan Amirkhani lined up for the co-main event.