Kris Moutinho’s inspired debut performance at UFC 264 showcased courage, toughness, and tremendous durability.
Despite a relentless barrage of strikes from Bantamweight prospect Sean O’Malley, Moutinho maintained a constant pressure by continuing to press forward, much to the adoration of fans, fighters, and commentators alike.
Whilst the bout was contentiously stopped with just 27 seconds remaining in the third round, Moutinho’s 14-minute absorption of punishment garnered global admiration.
Yet that’s not the narrative Kris Moutinho wants defining his career.
“It still hurts me” Moutinho admitted in a previous interview with Nolan King of MMA Junkie. “I can’t even watch it anymore”.
“I’m worth more than just what they saw the last fight”.
The candid interview with MMA Junkie revealed a motivated Moutinho, hungry to demonstrate his skillset to a new found fan-base.
With a return to the octagon at UFC Vegas 50, Moutinho gets the opportunity to begin rewriting the narrative.
Ahead of his return, Kris Moutinho graciously took the time to answer a few questions with Danny Jones of MMA UK:
Kris, your debut at UFC 264 was certainly a trial by fire; you took the fight on incredibly short notice, and opened the main card at a sold out T-Mobile Arena against the talented Sean O’Malley. Can you describe the difference you feel ahead of your bout at UFC Vegas 50, featuring on the preliminary card at the UFC Apex?
The opportunity to fight against O’Malley happened so fast, but this time is really no different besides having more time to cut weight. A fight is a fight whether it’s 10 days out or 3 months. I’ll always be ready.
In a previous interview with Nolan King (MMA Junkie), you mentioned that you wanted to show the world that you are “not just a punching bag”. Now that you’ve had a taste of fighting on the main card of a Pay-per-view, what motivates you more; striving to reach those heights once more, or changing the narrative to what you can do as a fighter, rather than the narrative from your debut at UFC 264?
Now that I have had a glimpse of fighting on a main card I want to have that opportunity again to showcase my skills more. What I can do as a fighter will be shown more in my upcoming fight.
It’s admirable that despite the overnight success following UFC 264, becoming a fan favourite after a single fight, your focus is more on your own improvement, rather than what you’ve achieved. 8 months removed from your debut, do you view that fight as an invaluable learning experience, and are you satisfied that you’ve made the improvements that you wanted to make?
Having 8 months after my last fight to think about the whole experience and really hone in on a few things I need to work on was definitely all very valuable to me, and just reassured me that I am meant to be in the UFC; I am meant to be a fighter. I try to improve everyday, that’s why I love this sport, there’s always room to improve and get better.
Prior to UFC 264, you were on a two fight win-streak, with a TKO stoppage of Ashiek Ajim at CES MMA 61, and a submission of Andrew Salas at CFFC 96. As a professional, every time you’ve gone the distance you’ve won via unanimous decision. What gives you greater satisfaction; getting the stoppage, or earning a victory by bettering an opponent across 3 rounds?
I have to say as a professional the best satisfaction is getting the stoppage. Going the distance and getting that win is a great feeling, but that moment after the stoppage is definitely one of the best parts about fighting.
As a fighter from Milford, Massachusetts, you have new found support from all four corners of the world. Any messages to your supporters here in the UK?
Being from the small town of Milford Massachusetts, I am amazed and blessed at all the support I have been getting from every corner of the world. There are many amazing people that reach out and show their support for me, which I am grateful for every day. To all my supporters in the UK, I just want to say thank you, and keep watching me; I promise I won’t disappoint.
Make sure to catch Kris Moutinho’s return to the octagon against Guido Cannetti this Saturday, at UFC Vegas 50.