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I bet you’re wondering where the Florida part of the trip came in, but if you looked close enough behind the mask, you could see “Vandetta” with Simon for his May 13 bout against Ray Borg. That’s being a good cousin, but the added benefit is that when Morales gets fight week underway for his May 30 bout against Chris Gutierrez, he will have already experienced the fight life in the midst of a pandemic, COVID-19 tests and all.

“It might give me an edge in terms of comfortability,” he said. “But when it comes down to the fight, a lot of times that could be one of the most uncomfortable things, so it’s about who deals with being uncomfortable better. Throughout the week I’ll probably be more comfortable just because I’ve been through that stuff, but I don’t want to give that too much credit where I say it will help me a lot for the fight.”

It’s an honest assessment from an honest fighter who admits that he’s a little frustrated with the way things have gone in his UFC career thus far. That’s understandable, considering that he’s a lot better than his 1-2 record in the Octagon would tell you. 

He put in a solid effort on short notice against top 15 contender Song Yadong in November 2018, then evened his record with a victory over Aiemann Zahabi in May of last year. So far so good, but then came a July bout with Benito Lopez which he lost by unanimous decision. That’s how the line on his won-loss record reads, but according to the poll taken by MMADecisions.com, all 11 media members surveyed believed Morales deserved the nod. 

That stings, but the 29-year-old is trying to keep focused on what’s ahead and not what’s in the rearview mirror.

“I think about all that and I go down a rabbit hole of negative thinking,” he said. “So from those fights, I do the same thing, whether I’m winning or losing. I look back at the fight, I try to focus on all the areas that need improvement. That’s the only thing I can do to keep me sane and that’s what I’ve been doing.”


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