Brian Moore: “There is no one in the top 5 who I won’t put away!”

After being devastated about not being ready to fight at the latest Bellator Dublin show due to injury, Brian Moore (11-7) looks to make amends when he returns to the cage this weekend. He is dropping down to the bantamweight division to take on Bellator newcomer, Binh Son Le (5-2), five months after having major hand surgery. After alternating losses and wins so far in his Bellator career, Moore will be hoping to make a big statement at the Resorts World Arena in Birmingham on Saturday night and send a message to the rest the division that he is on the rise.

Moore’s last appearance inside the cage came at Bellator 210 when he faced UFC veteran, Noad Lahat, in a featherweight bout. During the first round, Moore pushed the pace and managed to defend the majority of Lahat’s takedown attempts while landing some good strikes. Moore dropped Lahat late in the first round which ended just as he was landing some heavy ground and pound. The Irishman continued to do more damage as soon as the second round began before Lahat achieved a dominant ground position where he landed some big elbows and punches. In the final round, Lahat scored a quick takedown and dominated in the grappling exchanges until the final horn when it was announced that the SBG product had lost a unanimous decision. Moore broke both of his hands during the contest so the fact that he was as competitive as he was while severely compromised is something he could take positives from.

“I think my performance against Noad Lahat was a strong performance. It was going very smoothly and it was the best I’d felt in there,” said Moore. “Everything I wanted to do was working well. It was only a matter of time before that last, knockout blow was being landed. I dropped him 3 times and felt very, very good in there. However, when you are fighting with two broken hands it is hard to get the win. Once I broke my second hand, that was it really. There was not much offense I could offer and even defensively I didn’t have too much use of my arms so it was tough. From that fight practicality wise, I will make sure that I always get my hands wrapped really well and from a technical perspective, it showed that what I am doing day in day out at the gym is working. I’ve got to keep trusting the process and move forwards. Luck won’t play a part next time.”

Moore’s record of 11-7 doesn’t look overly impressive if someone were to take it at face value but investigate further and it can be seen that he has lost to some of the best in the weight category. To add to this, many of those fights were also taken on short notice so Moore wouldn’t have had sufficient time to properly research and game plan for some of his opponents. The 31 year old doesn’t regret stepping in on minimal notice as that is what he believes true fighting is all about.

“If you are foolish enough to look at my record at first glance it can look unimpressive but as you said, delve a little bit deeper and look at the details of each fight,” explained Moore. “I fought Daniel Weichel when no one in the world, let alone Europe, would fight him. I fought AJ McKee, a top prospect in Bellator, when no one else would fight him on short notice when I should have been pulling out of a fight. I’m a real fighter who jumps in there time and time again at the last minute. I don’t mind putting myself against these guys. Only Pitbull who is the champion has put himself against the calibre of fighters that I have and that says something. So yeah, if you are foolishly looking at my record at first glance it may not look that impressive but read into it and it is. I’m not padding records as I don’t believe in that. I’d much rather fight good, stiff competition all of the time to test myself.”

Moore’s fight on Saturday night takes place on the evening’s preliminary card as he looks to get back in the win column. He is taking on Binh Son Le who is returning to the cage after being out of action since August 2017. Le has fought in Cage Warriors and M-1 over his eight fight career and has gone to the judges scorecard every time he has competed. However, that is a trend that Moore is confident he will break come fight night.

“I’ve seen a lot of footage on my opponent and I would describe him as tricky,” stated Moore. “He switches stances, mixes up the levels and changes styles so he is a tricky opponent. With that being said, I’m very comfortable in the skill set that I’m bringing forwards and the preparation I have put in. I will put pressure on him, I’ll make him wilt and I’ll get the knockout. It’ll be first or second round depending on what opportunities are presented my way. Whatever game he plays, whether he comes aggressive or if he moves on the outside, it won’t be enough. I’ll find my rhythm, timing, distance and I’ll put him away.”

Up until this point, Moore has only competed in the featherweight division for Bellator but that will change in Birmingham. He is making the ten pound drop to bantamweight in a move which he feels will help himself perform at the optimal level. Moore respects the guys in his new division but doesn’t feel overwhelmed at all by the skills they possess.

“My move to 135 lbs is simply to level out the playing field. I’m always jumping in there against much bigger guys,” said Moore. “In my last fight, my opponent outweighed me by one stone during the contest and I was still dominating until I broke my hands. If anything, I think I’ll have a much bigger advantage as I’ve always fought larger, stronger guys yet I’ve always been a far faster competitor than anyone I’ve faced. I think dropping down I will keep my speed and may even get a little bit faster as I’ll be lighter. My strength hasn’t dropped even an ounce so I feel like I have a big advantage. This fight will get my foot in the door of the division and my fight after will put me in the top 10. I will keep that progression going until I have that gold belt around my waste at bantamweight.”

“The 135 lbs division is solid but the only excellence I see is in the top 5. The top 10 are ok and after that there’s a huge drop off,” claimed Moore. “There is no one in the top 5 who I don’t think I can put away. In fact, there is no one in the top 5 who I won’t put away until I get that belt. I respect the champion who is there at the minute but me and him will cross paths. Whether that will be for a belt at the time I’m not sure but we will fight each other and I’m looking forward to that. He’s a good champion but he is very beatable. I look at the other guys who are competing that have been former champions or are title contenders and I think when you throw me in the mix, I beat every single one of them. I’m looking forward to each and every challenge.”

The fighter known as ‘The Pikeman’ is clearly confident in his own abilities and has mentioned in other interviews that he aims to have the belt by 2020. All successful fighters create themselves short and long term goals so they always know where they need to go next on their path to success. After a victory this weekend, Moore knows exactly what he wants the next step to be on his climb to the top of the division.

“It’s extremely hard to predict what path will lead me to the belt but I’m going to win this one and then I’m going to fight in Dublin in September where I’m hoping to get a good opponent. Maybe it’ll be a former world champion at bantamweight and that will be enough to secure a title shot or maybe not,” explained Moore. “I don’t know as this sport is very unpredictable. All I do is take it one fight at a time. There is no one in the game who works harder than me or who sacrifices more than me and that’s the kind of mindset that I’ve got. I have been in this game almost a decade and every single camp I improve. Look at this camp for instance. I’ve brought in the help of a top nutritionist, Tristan Kennedy, as well as Colin Byrne from McGregor FAST so I’m always looking to improve. It doesn’t matter what fight is next because I’m always improving and I’m going to keep winning these bouts until I get the title.”

Bellator Birmingham: Primus v Wilde can be seen live on Channel 5 at 10pm on Saturday night. The evening’s preliminary action can be streamed on the Bellator App from 6pm.

Image courtesy of Bellator

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