The beautiful thing about writing about MMA is not only do I get to talk to some of the biggest stars in the sport I am also presented with numerous opportunities to talk to guys just getting their start. For instance, when I first spoke to Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson he had yet to fight in the UFC. Then lo and behold I had five conversations with him in a month and now he could very well be on his way to becoming a future champion in the UFC.
Today I spoke with 21-year-old Alex Morono, a welterweight who will be fighting this Friday night for Legacy Fighting Championships 10 on HDNet. Morono is one of those guys that doesn’t take anything for granted. Mature beyond his years, he appreciates the opportunity he has in front of him and realizes that Rome wasn’t built in a day. He’s willing to be patient and when the times right for him to fight for a bigger promotion he’ll be ready. When it’s all said and done these fighters are pretty much the same, they love to compete and are willing to do whatever it takes to be successful.
Bryan Levick: Where are you currently training for your fight on Friday night?
Alex Morono: I’m training at Gracie Barra up in North Houston. My coach Chad Robichaux has two schools and one of my coaches Todd Moore has fought for the WEC, DREAM, and Strikeforce. He actually fought Shinya Aoki at DREAM 6 in 2008. My striking coach Michael Chase Corley has fought some of the best strikers worldwide. We have a great group of guys here in Houston.
BL: How did you get into MMA in the first place?
Morono: I didn’t do much when I was young other than play soccer. I was pretty overweight, but I had a couple of friends who were boxing and training in Jiu-Jitsu. We would always get together and watch the old PRIDE fights and one year I asked for a membership to a boxing gym. I was 15 or 16 and fell in love with it; I lost a bunch of weight and had my first Muay Thai fight at sixteen. I won with a headkick knockout and the rest is history.
BL: What do you know about your opponent Rashon Lewis?
Morono: I know he’s a big strong guy who played college football. We have a mutual opponent and while he lost I ended up submitting the guy in under a minute. I think I’m years ahead of him on the ground and striking, but he’s real athletic and that goes a long way in MMA. Technically I think I’ll smash the guy, but I know I have to deal with his strength.
BL: What area of your game would you say is your biggest strength?
Morono: I think my footwork is my best attribute. I have managed to take very little damage in my fights which to me is always ideal. It was good to start out in boxing and it’s carried over to MMA. I’ve never really been hit that hard in any of my fights. I think I need to work on my wrestling and I’ve been doing a lot to improve in that area. I have noticed since I began focusing on wrestling my cardio and strength have gone up.
BL: What does your family think about you fighting professionally?
Morono: At first my mom wasn’t into it and my dad didn’t care. He used to come to all of my Jiu-Jitsu matches. Now they are all at every one of my fights cheering me along. I don’t think they have ever missed a fight. I know my dad is worried that I’m getting hurt, but I’ve never been injured or taken any serious punishment.
BL: Where do you see yourself in the next year?
Morono: I’m definitely going to take my time; I am not in any rush. My coaches are my guides and since I am only 21 I’m going to take things slow and fight guys that are at my level. This fight for Legacy is great as it’s going to be televised on HDnet. There are some UFC and Strikeforce vets on the card so I’ll be able to get some good experience fighting locally. I really enjoy fighting for Legacy and have been with them since I was amateur.
Make sure to check out the 3-1 Morono’s fight out when things start at 10:00 PM EST. Other bouts include action from UFC alums Pat Audinwood and Gerald Harris.
PHOTO CREDIT – ALEX MORONO/LEGACYFC