UFC flyweight champion Deiveson Figueiredo may have successfully defended his 125-pound title with a first-round submission victory over Alex Perez in the main event of UFC 255 just 17 days ago, but he now once again finds himself in the midst of a fight week.
After exiting the octagon unscathed following his win over Perez, Figueiredo quickly agreed to defend his title in the main event of UFC 256 this Saturday in Las Vegas against top contender Brandon Moreno, who also fought and won at UFC 255.
There’s no denying that the 27-year-old Moreno is deserving of a title shot, as he’s gone 4-0-1 in his last five fights. During that stretch, he’s earned victories over Maikel Perez, Kai-Kara France, and Jussier Formiga. And at UFC 255, he came out on top against fellow contender Brandon Royval.
Despite many seeing Moreno as a legitimate test for Deiveson Figueiredo, however, the Brazilian champion doesn’t appear to be all that concerned with the task at hand.
“Perez is way tougher than him, no doubt about it,” Figueiredo said of Moreno when speaking to MMAFighting. “But I’m ready to shut his mouth on the 12th so he doesn’t call me out or talk trash at me on social media again.
“Brandon Moreno comes from a boxing background; he has sharp little boxing, but speaking of jiu-jitsu and takedowns, I see no qualities in him. So it’s an easier match-up for me to fight. I thought Perez’s game was easy, and I think his is way easier.”
Figueiredo certainly seems to have some sort of dislike for Moreno. In fact, he’s made it clear that he’ll be looking to finish the challenger and he even went as far as to make a prediction as to how exactly he’ll get it done.
“I’m a fighter that studies my opponents a lot, and that makes me be so certain of the way I can beat them,” Figueiredo said. “I work a lot on the things I study, and the areas where they are weak are the ones I’ll attack.”
“(Moreno) will be submitted,” Figueiredo said. “I’ll take him down and submit him. First round. He’s not a man to fight two rounds.”
Overall, 2020 has been a tremendous year for Figueiredo, as he’s both won and defended the title while going 3-0 with stoppage wins over Joseph Benavidez and Perez. The only setback he had, however, was that he missed weight prior to his first fight against Benavidez last February, which made him ineligible to win the title despite getting his hand raised.
While cutting weight is typically never the easiest process, Figueiredo was on point against Perez and with the help of the UFC Performance Institute, he expects that to be the case against Moreno as well.
“I’m having a special attention (in Las Vegas’ UFC Performance Institute), and you can be sure I’ll make weight much easier (than before), god willing,” he said. “I’ll be ready and on weight to put on another show for the Brazilian fans on Dec. 12.”
Long Island-based sports writer covering MMA, Boxing, and the New York Jets.