Manel Kape might be a rare breed in MMA.
Most fighters have no qualms about asking to be next in line for a title shot, even if it’s far from likely. But Kape is realistic about his place in the UFC’s flyweight division.
“Right now, I want to do two more fights and then have the opportunity to fight for the belt,” Kape recently told MMA Junkie. “If these are good (fights), like my fights before, I’m probably going to have an opportunity. I won’t say I want to be a backup (for the next title fight). I want to have two more fights and go forward from that.”
Kape (17-6 MMA, 2-2 UFC) is a former RIZIN champion who came to the UFC in 2020, but had to wait until early this year for his promotional debut. He lost decisions to Alexandre Pantoja and Matheus Nicolau out of the chute, but in August and earlier this month had back-to-back first-round knockouts to put himself into the title conversation.
But he said he’s not ready to be on standby in case champion Brandon Moreno (19-5-2 MMA, 8-2-2) or former champ Deiveson Figueiredo (20-2-1 MMA, 9-2-1 UFC) can’t go for their trilogy rematch at UFC 270 next month.
He does think Moreno has the edge, though, if the fight goes past the third round.
“The thing about Figueiredo, he can be afraid how much weight he’s going to lose,” Kape said. “Last fight, I know he had issues in weight – a lot, a lot of issues. (It can make him) weak. The problem was the weight. I know he was in the hospital – I was close to fighting Moreno because he was in the hospital, but he recovered and he accepted the fight. My issue is just about his weight – how is he going to recover and fight Moreno?
“Moreno improved a lot these years. He looked sharp. I believe Figueiredo is the favorite because of the power. I believe Moreno feels it a lot when he fights someone with more power than him. But if the fight goes through three rounds, Moreno is going to win – (Rounds) 4 or 5 – Moreno is going to win because Figueiredo won’t have any stamina.”
To see the full interview with Kape, check out the video below.