of only fighting 'guys he knew he could beat' _____ While #JimmieRivera
says he didn't want to fight #MarlonMoraes
because the bantamweight hadn't earned the right, Moraes thinks he was just afraid to lose. The 30-year-old Brazilian (20-5-1) says he was offered a fight with Rivera (21-1) in his #UFC
debut last spring but it was turned down by the bantamweight contender. Moraes instead fought #RaphaelAssuncao
, losing by split decision. Rivera was 4-0 in the UFC at the time and has since added another victory to push his overall win streak to 20 fights, but Moraes says that record isn't what it seems. "He fought guys he knew he could beat. He wasn't challenging himself," Moraes said, according to #DamonMartin
Weekly. "I'm not saying he fought bad fighters. He fought good fighters, but you have to fight everybody. You can't pick this guy now, I don't want to fight this guy. When the cage locks, it's just you and your opponent and that's it." Rivera admitted that he turned down a fight with Moraes last fall when the Brazilian was 1-1 in the UFC because he didn't view it as a worthy risk while he works toward a title shot. After Moraes picked up another win in December and poured gas on their feud, Rivera said he has "no respect" for his upcoming opponent or his manager, as they have called out the New Jersey native for ducking fights in the past, but Moraes isn't taking the fight as personally. "I respect him, he's a good fighter, but I'm just aiming to go out there on June 1 and beat him. That's it," said Moraes. "I'm going out there to put on a great performance. I want to go out there and I want to prove to everybody that I'm ready to fight for the UFC title." Rivera and Moraes will headline the UFC Utica card on Friday, with the winner possibly being next in line for a bantamweight title shot after #CodyGarbrandt
and T.J. #Dillashaw
's rematch for the 135-pound strap in August.