Marlon Moraes reinvigorated by return from retirement, wants to ‘send a message to everyone’ in PFL

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It didn’t take long for Marlon Moraes to realize he wasn’t “ready to live that life” as a retired fighter. That’s why he chose to return to MMA competition with PFL.

After announcing his plans to hang up the gloves in April, Moraes (23-10-1) admits there were some “peaceful” times where he didn’t have to worry about training for a particular fight or opponent.

He still spent plenty of time in the gym at American Top Team in Coconut Creek, Fla., though, and during that time came to the realization he still had more in the tank. After being released from the UFC following a four-fight skid, Moraes was free to survey the MMA landscape, and he said joining the PFL – which is formerly World Series of Fighting, for which he was a bantamweight champion – was the only logical option.

“I wasn’t happy with the results, how things was going with me with the fights,” Moraes told MMA Junkie Radio. “Nothing was going my way. I think that the time away from the sport was good to think about everything, about my skills, and see what was going wrong and make a switch, make a change. I’m really happy with this change, getting back to the PFL, with the World Series of Fighting and be near people that care about every single person in the roster.”

Moraes signed with PFL in early September, and shortly thereafter his debut was announced. He will fight fellow UFC veteran and recent PFL signee Shane Burgos at the 2022 PFL Championships event on Nov. 25 at Hulu Theatre at Madison Square Garden in New York.

After spending his entire 11-fight UFC tenure at bantamweight, and even challenging for the title, Moraes will move up to featherweight for his PFL tenure. It will be the first time he’s competed in the division since December 2011, but now that he’s at a later stage of his career, Moraes thinks it’s the best division for him.

“(I) have a chance to compete with some of the best ’45ers in the world,” Moraes said. “I am 34 years old right now, and it’s just hard for me to keep hurting myself down to ’35. (I’m) fighting some guys that are a little bit taller than I, but I’m going to get that with my speed and power. The energy is going to be different. I’m feeling it already, and I train with the ’45ers, the ’55ers. I see no difference. I think weight is just a number and the way you fight is going to decide who is going to win.”

The matchup with Burgos is a one-off for the sake of activity before both men roll into the 2023 PFL featherweight season. Moraes is pleased with the opportunity to fight once for the promotion before going into the busy season schedule next year, and he said he’s as driven as he’s ever been to find success and secure his first victory in nearly three years.

“I’m going to send a message to everyone and I’m going to show these guys that in 2023, 145-pound is going to be a tough a division and they will see one of the best shapes I will be. I feel stronger, I feel faster and I’m as motivated as I was when I made my debut in the World Series of Fighting and when I made my debut in the UFC. … I’m staying for long. I’m not leaving. I’m not going anywhere.

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