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Alex Morono punches Santiago Ponzinibbio of Argentina in a 180-pound catchweight fight during the UFC 282 event at T-Mobile Arena on December 10, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
Athletes

Alex Morono's Ethos Of Consistency

"The Great White" Embraces His Status As A Welterweight Veteran; Ready To Take All Comers

I didn’t ask when he sat down to talk to UFC.com, but I’m reasonably sure that Alex Morono would come over and help me clean out my rain gutters when he gets done fighting Joaquin Buckley Saturday at UFC Fight Night: Dawson vs Grant.

Since his UFC debut win over Kyle Noke in 2016, the salt-of-the-earth Morono remains one of the most unassuming and respectful athletes to encounter on a roster full of high-character individuals. His coaches, teammates, students, and even his opponents, consistently echo this sentiment, and I was curious where he thinks it comes from.

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“I get it; staring into their soul (at faceoffs), letting them know you’re ready to die is a fun aspect of it, but this is the highest level of martial arts in the world, so you get guys with really good discipline. Honestly, it's reacting a lot off the same energy as my opponent.”

Alex Morono and Tim Means interact after their welterweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at Spectrum Center on May 13, 2023 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)
Alex Morono and Tim Means interact after their welterweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at Spectrum Center on May 13, 2023 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

Crediting his opponent when you’re trying to pay him a compliment? That’s peak Morono.

The moments you won’t find “The Great White” to be a total mensch are the fifteen or so minutes between the horns on fight night, but in victory or defeat, you will see him being gracious to the man he just traded blows with.

And it’s usually victory. Although there have been some high profile heartbreakers (Santiago Ponzinibbio, Anthony Pettis) there has mostly been a workmanlike march forward through the welterweight division. Heading into Saturday, he’s won five of his last six and knocking on the door of the top 15. He knows something is clicking.

RELATED: Joaquin Buckley Interview

“I've always maximized preparation and every fight camp since I was a teenager. But having the guidance of coach Sayif (Saud) over at Fortis helps tremendously. Then having the high-level training partners there and the high-level training partners back in Houston and even the high-level training partners at my home gym has been awesome. So just consistency. Robert Whittaker said it really well in an interview recently: there's no secret to this, just consistency. And I've been super consistent for coming up on 20 years now, consistent and winning over people that have been in the sport a while, too.”

Alex Morono (L) punches Matthew Semelsberger in their welterweight bout during UFC 277 at American Airlines Center on July 30, 2022 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)
Alex Morono (L) punches Matthew Semelsberger in their welterweight bout during UFC 277 at American Airlines Center on July 30, 2022 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)

Case in point: Morono just came off a spectacular submission victory in May over Tim Means and had a TKO victory over Cowboy Cerrone in 2021. He admits there’s something a little extra special about taking out guys like that.

“Yeah, I remember watching those guys as a youngster, even watching Tim Means in Houston when I was young in Legacy (FC) before his second run in the UFC. That was cool. But man, Tim just fought and looked incredible against (Andre) Fialho. It was great. It made me feel better about my performance against him and it was fun to see a guy I admire go out there and look like a real assassin.

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“But yeah, getting the win over Cowboy, that's truly my claim to fame in the UFC.”

In fact there have been several times that strangers, when meeting Morono for the first time and discovering he is a UFC fighter, have asked him if he knows Cowboy Cerrone. He loves to watch their faces when he confirms that not only does he know him, but actually beat him. At age 33, he knows the new generation will be looking for their own claim to fame against him one day in the not so distant future.

Alex Morono KOs Donald Cerrone | UFC Fight Night: Rodriguez Vs. Waterson
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Alex Morono KOs Donald Cerrone | UFC Fight Night: Rodriguez Vs. Waterson
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“It’s funny now that I'm the veteran, fighting all these guys. I've had almost twice the amount of fights Buckley has had. So he's like the new generation compared to me. It's kind of cool to see that tide turning a bit.”

The conversation shifts to Saturday’s main card opponent, and as you might already suspect, it’s only praise from Morono.

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“He's a tremendous martial artist. Very dangerous, very explosive. A fight not to be taken lightly in any sense. I don't think I've ever taken a fight lightly, but I really did train my butt off for this one. A lot of preparation… just to make sure I do everything in my power to come out with a win on Saturday.”

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A win on Saturday could mean top 15, or maybe a ranked opponent. And that’s fine with the second degree Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt. But he places a much higher value on being active in the sport he loves.

“The top 15 would be cool, but one thing I don't want is to have to wait for matchups, ever. So I can happily fight a top 15 or would happily fight a newcomer. I know they're getting crazy signing all these guys off Contender Series, so if one of those guys wants to see what it's like at the higher level, I'll take them on. But yeah, activity really is my goal. That’s what I'm going for.”

UFC Fight Night: Dawson vs Green took place live from the UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada on October 7, 2023. See the Final Results, Official Scorecards and Who Won Bonuses - and relive the action on UFC Fight Pass!