Thiago Moises didn’t waste any time jumping into the deep end.
The 25-year-old Brazilian earned a contract on Dana White’s Contender Series in 2018 and then made his UFC debut against lightweight contender Beneil Dariush. That was a big challenge in his first walk to the Octagon, and despite dropping the contest, Moises showed why the UFC was excited about his skill set.
Since then, the American Top Team product has seen mixed results in the Octagon, with two wins and one defeat moving him to a record of 2-2 in the promotion, but his heel hook victory over respected veteran Michael Johnson in his last outing indicates that Moises is ready to make his presence felt in the division.
“I think people got to recognize me more and they got to see that I’m a real deal in this division,” Moises told UFC.com. “I don’t want to just win fights I want to finish guys and I want to make a statement. That’s what I’m here for. I believe that submission will be nominated for the Submission of the Year award. It was a beautiful victory.”
At the beginning of September, Moises was slated to face Jalin Turner at UFC Vegas 9, but tested positive for COVID-19 the night before the bout. It was devastating for Moises, who thought the match with Turner was the perfect way to follow up his impressive win over Johnson.
A week later, Turner submitted Brok Weaver, which left Moises thinking how things would have gone had he been able to compete.
“I was thinking that Turner got lucky because if he fought me, the result for sure would have been different,” Moises said with a smile.
Nearly two months later, Moises is back and ready to face the streaking Bobby Green at UFC Vegas 12. He believes that a fight with Green is actually better for him in the long run, as he thinks that Green is a bigger name than Turner.
“Bobby Green has a bigger name and three wins this year,” Moises said about Green. “Plus, he’s been fighting in the UFC for almost ten years. It’s a big fight and will be a big win for me.”
And even though he knows just how important Saturday’s showdown with Green is, Moises can’t help but look back at how far he’s come in such a short time.
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“Since entering the UFC I’ve had a great adventure. I fought on the Brazilian version of Dana White’s Contender Series, then in my promotional debut I fought a very experienced opponent. I’ve traveled to China to fight and I’ve already fought during the pandemic. In two years of fighting in the UFC I’ve been through a lot,” Moises said. “My life changed a lot after I joined the UFC. I am living the dream and I’ve always dreamed of being a part of the largest MMA organization in the world.”
Moises stops reminiscing and pauses for a brief moment before switching gears to the future.
“After Saturday, I would like to fight against a ranked athlete,” Moises said. “That is my goal and how I would like to end the year.”
Sizing up the future doesn’t mean that Moises is looking past Green. As a matter of fact, Moises believes that California’s “King” is the perfect opponent to test himself against.
“I will fight anyone, and I want to maintain a winning streak to impress everybody. I will keep climbing the rankings, step-by-step and I will end the year within the top 15,” Moises said. “On Saturday, I hope to be able to show my full potential and what I’ve been working on.”
Make sure you catch Moises versus Green on UFC Vegas 12, which starts at 7pm ET / 4pm PT on ESPN+.