Bobby Moffett’s fight at UFC Uruguay is about more than just getting back in the win column. The 29-year-old lightweight is out to prove that he made the right decision to move his camp from MMA Lab to Fight Ready.
Moffett didn’t make the decision in hopes of totally changing his training. The choice actually brings familiarity.
When Eddie Cha decided to leave MMA Lab after disagreements with his fellow coaches, a stable of fighters followed him to his landing spot, Fight Ready. Moffett was a part of that group.
“I love the MMA lab,” Moffett said to John Hyon Ko of The Body Lock. “I still love all those guys. I don’t have anything bad to say about the team over there. I still care about everybody over there and our coaches.”
Moffett has worked with Cha extensively over the past three years as his career has blossomed, so when Cha moved to a gym located a half-hour away from his home, “The Wolfman” pounced on the opportunity to continue training with him.
“He always takes special time with me, so I always felt like he’s a really good person and a really good coach and he really cared about my development as a fighter,” Moffett said. “It was a tough decision, but I really like the new gym. Fight Ready is a really good spot. The guys that train there are really tough and really good people over there. And then we’ve got excellent coaches there too.”
For some time, he was going back-and-forth between the two gyms, something he’d hoped to avoid when he moved out to Arizona from Illinois. Back in his home state, Moffett would split his time at two gyms, spending hours in the car to get his training in.
Once he was able to make a side-by-side comparison of both gyms’ classes, Moffett knew where his future was.
“I felt the difference in the two,” Moffett said. “There was nothing wrong with how we train at The Lab. I just felt like I started to learn again a little bit more at Fight Ready, and I really wanted to embrace that 100 percent, so I didn’t want to go half and half … I didn’t want to go back to a two gym kind of thing. I wanted to do it all in one place, and I felt it best to go with Fight Ready for this camp and probably for the rest of my career, as long as it goes pretty well.”
Leaving MMA Lab
As is often the case with MMA gyms, the divorce between Cha and MMA Lab was a bit rocky. This made it difficult for the fighters who were pitted between the two sides.
“I know our head coach at The Lab [John Crouch], he didn’t want me going to train at Fight Ready with Eddie,” Moffett said. “I was still training at The Lab at one point and I would go to Fight Ready and just hit mitts with Eddie, and our coach was saying he’d rather have Eddie come to The Lab and hold mitts for me. Obviously, that wasn’t going to happen. Eddie had left, and there was no way he was going to just come back to The Lab just to hold mitts for me.”
Moffett’s teammate Drakkar Klose also fully committed to Fight Ready alongside Moffett, but his departure differed from Moffett’s.
In an interview with John Lynch of the Score, Klose compared the situation to TJ Dillashaw’s decision to leave Team Alpha Male and follow Duane Ludwig.
“I was given an ultimatum,” Klose said regarding his reason for leaving MMA Lab. “I learned at a young age when someone gives you that they’re not really looking out for your best interests.”
Moffett made his move before he faced the same situation.
“They never gave me the ultimatum or anything like that,” Moffet said, “but I’m sure that it would’ve came down to it if [training at both gyms] became an issue.”
Fighting in Uruguay
Moffett’s fight against Enrique Barzola on August 10 provides a chance to prove to himself that his fresh start in training was worthwhile. On top of moving to Fight Ready, he has also worked with Neuro Force One in an attempt to get the most out of his body during training.
The fight will also be Moffett’s first to take place outside of the United States. When he got wind of the bout, he first wondered where Uruguay is.
“I didn’t know where it was. I had no idea,” Moffett admits with a laugh. “It’s not a country that I’ve ever thought about going to. This is their first fight, so it was not even like a thing you’d see in [UFC] Fight Nights.”
Moffett breathed a sigh of relief when he figured out that Uruguay is located in South America. He didn’t want to battle jetlag from a major time difference in his first international fight.
“It’s really not that big of a difference,” Moffett said of the change in timezones. “The worst part’s going to be flying the 13 hours. But besides that, it’s going to be the same thing as this going to the east coast.”
His opponent won’t be experiencing the same adjustment that comes with traveling outside of the US. Barzola hails from Lima, Peru, which is why Moffett believes he’ll have the crowd against him on Saturday.
“I’m fighting a South American, so I think the crowd’s going to get into it,” Moffett said. “They’re gonna root for him for sure. But I think I’m gonna turn the tides. I’m going to get some fans out of this one.”
Bobby Moffett vs. Enrique Barzola
Besides the obvious cultural difference, Moffett believes he and Barzola fall on opposite ends of the fighting spectrum.
“I am a finisher. I don’t like to go to the decisions. I like to fight somebody and I like to finish them,” Moffett said. “The whole point of my fighting is to finish the fight as quickly as possible. So I think that’s the difference between him and myself.”
Barzola is 5-2 since entering the UFC by way of The Ultimate Fighter Latin America Season 2, but each of his seven bouts has gone the full 15 minutes. It’s been nearly five years since Barzola’s last stoppage victory which came in his last fight on the regional circuit.
“It’s hard for him to get the finish,” Moffett said. “I’ve watched a few of his fights, and I haven’t seen many times that he’s put people in the position to even finish them.”
Despite the trend, “The Wolfman” isn’t going into this fight thinking his opponent can’t hurt him. In his last fight against Bryce Mitchell, that mindset cost him a victory.
“I can’t go into the fight with that kind of mentality,” Moffett said. “I can’t go into the fight thinking that I’m so much better than this person that I’m just going to blow them out of the water. And that’s something I’ve been working on — my mentality going into fights. Sometimes I get too ahead of myself. I think, man, this is just a little stepping stone. I’m going to go bigger, bigger, bigger and bigger. And I’ve got to realize that what’s in front of me is the most important thing.”
While he doesn’t want to underestimate Barzola by any means, Moffett does have an idea of how this fight will play out.
“We’re going to clash and it’s going to be a really good fight for two rounds,” he said. “Then it’s going to turn into me just killing him.”
Shane Connelly is a journalism student at Penn State with a passion for sharing the stories of MMA fighters.