Later this evening UFC flyweight John Moraga will attempt to do what no other fighter has – beat Demetrious Johnson at 125 pounds. Additionally, he’ll also be out to hand “Mighty Mouse” the first finish of the current champion’s career.
The 29-year old Moraga recently spoke to Bloody Elbow about the UFC on FOX 8 headliner, saying he didn’t necessarily fear anything Johnson had to offer in return but was fully aware of the difficulty involved in defeating an opponent with his foe’s footwork, speed, and frenetic pace.
“I don’t know that Demetrious is the toughest guy at flyweight, but I do think he may be the hardest guy to beat,” admitted Moraga. “I think there are more dangerous guys in the division than Demetrious Johnson. I’m not going to leave it in the judge’s hands. I’m going in there to finish the fight. If for some reason it does go to a decision, I’m going to have to be very dominant to get the win.”
One of the primary driving forces behind Moraga’s quest for gold has to do with how rough his journey had been from a poor kid growing up in a bad neighborhood to the pinnacle of the sport he chose as a profession.
“I’ve been broke, like at rock bottom, with no way to get to practice, no way to feed myself. I had a girlfriend, but I didn’t want to tell her or anybody else. I didn’t want to ask for a handout, so I suffered for a good little time period there. I’d either ride a bicycle to practice or sneak onto the lightrail to get to practice,” explained Moraga. “I wasn’t eating right, and was physically drained all the time, but I wanted to make it happen so bad. One of my teammates noticed that something was wrong with me, and he eventually got me to tell him what was going on. He ended up taking me to the grocery store and hooked me up with some food. That was probably my lowest point in getting to where I’m at today, but it definitely built some character within me.
“I’ve gone through lean times like that my whole life, though,” he continued, pointing to why achieving his dream was so important. “My family never had much money. Our fridge was never full. We used to get the food boxes sent to our house, the expired stuff that we never knew where it came from. I didn’t ask my parents for things, toys or whatever like my friends did, because I already knew they didn’t have the money for it. I’ve been through rough times my whole life.”
“My career is for my kids. I want to give them the stuff I never had when I was growing up,” he concluded. “I never want them to have to want for anything. I want to give them all the extras. I don’t know what Demetrious’ life was like, but I’m pretty sure that this fight, and winning it, means more to me than just about anyone on earth.”
Moraga will lock horns with Johnson on FOX at some point after the main card kicks off at 8:00 PM EST. He holds an overall record of 13-1 with eight stoppages to his credit.