Brandon Moreno happy to be done with Deiveson Figueiredo rivalry, unsure how Figueiredo will fare at bantamweight



Brandon Moreno and Deiveson Figueiredo
Photo by Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Brandon Moreno is once again the undisputed UFC flyweight champion of the world, and he couldn’t be happier.

At UFC 283, Moreno scored his second win over Deiveson Figueiredo, earning a TKO by doctor stoppage after the third round to claim the undisputed flyweight title. Heading into the bout, Moreno spoke openly about the fatigue that came with facing the same opponent repeatedly over the past two years, saying that his goal was to put an end to their rivalry this time around, and with Figueiredo announcing after the fight that he intends to move up to bantamweight, Moreno managed to do just that, something he’s very happy about.

“It feels very cool,” Moreno told Arield Helwani on The MMA Hour. “It feels awesome, just to be out of all the stress, all the pressure, win this rivalry, make history. To be honest, the first time I won the title was more special because it was the first time, that’s it. It’s very simple. This one, I felt like I could beat this guy, so I knew it. Even before the fight, I knew I could beat him. I just went to the octagon, finished the job, and I just feel very happy to show to the world I’m real.”

Though Moreno won the fight and the rivalry, his victory on Saturday did not come without controversy. The strike that led to the eventual doctor stoppage was a punch that landed directly on Figueiredo’s eye, leading the Brazilian crowd to react poorly to the new champion. But despite the backlash, Moreno’s strike was completely legal and, according to the champion, Figueiredo may have been looking for an out anyway.

“He doesn’t like the pressure,” Moreno said. “He doesn’t like to be walking back or in a lot of transitions, because he starts to get tired and he starts to get frustrated. At some little point of his mind, he likes to quit. I can see it, and I saw it before, especially in the second fight against him. So the game plan wasn’t, ‘Wrestle with him, or do this with him.’ Nothing very specific. Just push the pace, put a lot of pressure on him, make him feel tired, and then he will want to finish the fight at some point. I saw the replay with the doctor, I don’t want to say he quit, but his face and his body language looked like, ‘That’s it. I don’t have nothing more.’ And that was the plan.”

With the rivalry now finished, Moreno can focus on defending his title against other flyweight contenders, with Alexandre Pantoja as the likely next challenger. Figueiredo, meanwhile, has set his sights on the bantamweight division. Throughout his career, Figueiredo has had a notoriously difficult time making 125 pounds, even missing weight for his first ever title fight. Still, Moreno questions whether the jump up will be good for Figueiredo, though he definitely is excited to find out.

“I train with a lot of ‘35ers. It’s a really tough division,” Moreno said. “Number one is lightweight, talking about the most competitive division, and right now, I think second one is bantamweight division, so I don’t know. The guy is huge, very huge. Very huge for 125, but I don’t know for 135. Let’s see what happens, because the guy has a lot of power in the right hand, for sure. Maybe with less of a weight cut, he can get more energy and more power. I don’t know. I want to see.”

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