The UFC’s President, Dana White, has been on a hunt for fighters to fill his roster, and, according to White, the promotion’s flyweight division is light on contenders. When the UFC resurrects the Octagon atop Mexico City, Mexico’s mountain for UFC Fight Night 114, Joseph ‘Bopo’ Morales (8-0) plans to showcase: he’s the silver-lining in the, otherwise, gloomy horizon of the 125-pound weight class.
Morales’ blip on the head honcho’s radar darkened after planting the flag of Team Alpha Male (TAM) in the vacant Global Knockout (GKO) belt near the end of 2016. A vignette (link here), produced by Champions, highlighted Morales’ potential as a breakout star leading into his title fight at GKO 8. During the feature, Urijah Faber, TAM’s General and UFC Hall of Fame Inductee, described his protege as: primed to cut his place amongst the elite, especially after being sharpened to a fine edge against high-caliber talent. Faber shared, “He’s seen the mentality and the hard work and the rollercoaster ride that is mixed martial arts; it’s just normal to him. He’s been training partners—like legitimate training partners—with guys that are fighting for the championship or holding the title since he was a kid, so his level of competition is already there. It’s just: getting that opportunity, putting him in the right place, and having him seize the day.”
An ideal place to capture such a moment would be before the undivided attention of the UFC’s President himself, and Morales was granted such a platform in a late-notice affair at Cage Fury Fighting Championships (CFFC). White’s exhaustive search, in a YouTube series entitled: Lookin’ for a Fight, for up-and-coming prospects led him to Morales’ co-main contest at CFFC 64. In addition to the winning ways Northern California’s collective has grown accustomed to, White found everything he was combing the country for in the young phenom out of Sacramento and offered him a contract.
On August 5, 2017, a new chapter begins for the twenty-two year old standout when he meets Roberto Sanchez (7-0) at 7,382 feet. Boasting a combined fifteen professional bouts, two regional titles, and only three decision finishes between them, the accolades of Morales and Sanchez sparkle on paper, and the flyweight division will soon become a buzz with the injection of these debutants.
At the close of UFC Fight Night 114, with his hand at 7,387.5 feet, Morales anticipates viewers will agree: he’s the type of fighter everyone, not only White, is lookin’ for.