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Moises says Makhachev loss will make him ‘grow’ as a fighter, wants Hooker next

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Lightweight Thiago Moises wants to look at the bright side of his loss to Islam Makhachev at UFC Vegas 31.

Frustrating as it was to lose his first ever UFC headliner, lightweight Thiago Moises will not allow his defeat to Islam Makhachev to distract him from his goal of becoming a champion. Despite losing in rather dominant fashion, the Brazilian prefers to consider the fight a learning experience and promises to come back stronger from it.

In an interview with Combate, Moises talked about how he could have handled the fight differently to avoid the same result. Nevertheless, regardless of how the fight ended, he acknowledged that youth is on his side and that he still has much to learn and improve in the coming years.

“I think I could have done it differently. Be more aggressive in the striking, less afraid of the takedowns, use my striking and be more aggressive with my grappling. I could have tried more takedowns, like I was able to do in the second round and try to control the fight on the ground. The biggest thing I take from his fight is experience. The most valuable thing is having fought in the main event, against an opponent of Islam’s level. Of course it’s going to make me grow a lot. (It will help me to) Be a better fighter and see that I can hang with the best guys in the division. I’m very young, I have a long way to go, but I have what it takes to fight the top guys in the division.”

Now that he is at peace with his loss to Makhachev, Moises looks to the future and already knows who he wants face next: striking specialist Dan Hooker. In Moises’ opinion, he would be able to score a submission win against the ‘Hangman’ and a victory against someone already established in the UFC would help him get back on track.

“A fight that makes sense would be against Dan Hooker. Hooker said he wanted to face the winner of my fight against Makhachev, but is coming off two losses, so I think him and I makes sense. He already has a name, he’s well-ranked, it’s a fight I’d really like to do at the moment. I believe his style really favors me. Dan Hooker is a good striker, he has good reach, but I think I’d win by submission.”

Before his loss to Makhachev, Moises (15-5) was on a three-fight winning streak, with victories over veterans Michael Johnson and Bobby Green, as well as a unanimous decision win over fellow prospect Alexander Hernandez, back in February. The 26-year-old’s last loss other than the one to Islam happened in August 2019, when he dropped a unanimous decision to Damir Ismagulov.