Check out the latest breaking UFC NEWS
OTTAWA, Ontario – Vince Morales wishes he could tell you that the jitters had subsided by his second walkout to the octagon.
But that wasn’t the case, for a simple reason: “It’s a big deal for me to win.” And, much like in his UFC debut last November, that was still on the line when Morales (9-3 MMA, 1-1 UFC) went up against Aiemann Zahabi (7-2 MMA, 1-2 UFC) at UFC on ESPN+ 9 this past Saturday.
And that is probably why Morales expects some level of nerves to be around for the remainder of his career.
“I think there are some psychos out there who don’t have nerves, but that’s on them,” Morales told reporters, including MMA Junkie, after the bantamweight bout at Canadian Tire Centre.
But there was one key difference from his octagon debut; this time, the unanimous decision went his way. Morales said while it wasn’t with the type of exciting performance that he would normally prefer, he can now legitimately consider himself a UFC fighter.
“It’s a win, now it puts me in the position to show some real stuff next time,” Morales said.
The win was also a bit of an upset, as Morales came in as the underdog against the Canada’s own Zahabi. And Morales, who actually pays quite a lot of attention to these things, was well aware of that fact. Thankfully, he doesn’t mind it one bit.
“I hate when I’m the favorite; I feel like that really puts pressure on me,” Morales said.
Considering Zahabi, brother of renowned Tristar Gym head coach Firas Zahabi, was the one returning from an 18-month layoff in front of his home crowd on Saturday, that pressure was somewhere else.
“I did feel like (Zahabi had more to lose) a little bit, just because he was coming off such a long layoff and who he trains with, the name on him and all that,” Morales said. “So, yeah, I felt like he had more to lose. Again, I felt like I was the underdog trying to prove myself.”
Morales’ more immediate plan after making that happen was to get a celebratory beer – or six. After that, he’d be ready to keep his momentum going with a quick turnaround.
This time, Morales wouldn’t mind having the cheers go his way, with a fight in his home U.S. soil. And if that happened in, say, the UFC’s International Fight Week plans in July?
“Sign me up for that – I’m in,” Morales said.
To hear more from Morales, check out the video above.
News | MMA Junkie